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Match Report
Derek Scott

A slow sleepy wicket at the new venue of Coleraine produced 931 runs and only 17 wickets fell. After three declarations Ireland were set 241 in what appeared to be a token 75 minutes plus a minimum of 20 overs. This came down to 152 runs in the minimum 20 overs and the game was won with a full over to spare. In 1974 as Amstelveen Ireland made 225-7 to win in the fourth innings against Holland, so 241 was a new record for a fourth innings chase.

Ireland brought in Milling (now available) for Jones and Dennison for Vincent. Prior (exams) was not available. Newcomers to this match for Wales were A Francis (ex-Glamorgan), R Harris, G Evans (wicket-keeper) and the opening bowlers I Binnie and J Kitson. The facilities in Coleraine were very good. Rain on Monday had made a wet mark under the covers at one end but the pitch remained placid throughout. The Borough Council gave a buffet supper in the Council Office on the first night and the RUC Sports Association hosted a buffet in the Pavilion on the second night.

The hours of play allowed for 19 hours in the match. Both captains requested that this be reduced by an hour with an agreement to add an hour on the first and second days should rain intervene. It did on the second day, on which play continued until 8 PM. Halliday lost his 14th successive toss and, at 11:30 AM on a warm sunny day, Ellis and Elward opened to the bowling of Corlett and Milling. In Corlett's second and third overs Elward gave sharp chances to Masood (gully) and Cohen (third slip) when 0 and 2. After this the game settled into a day of dull batting, steady bowling and a quite mysterious Welsh tactic in the final session. Five bowlers were tried before lunch in a 115 minute session of 33 overs but Ellis (30) and Elward (33) were not dislodged at 70-0. On they went afterwards. 100 came up in the 47th over and Masood was tried as the sixth bowler.

With the score on 107 Corlett dropped Elward at slip off Masood with his score at 49. Ellis reached 50 in 135 minutes, Elward in 147. The stand eventually reached 141 and was the highest for the first wicket against Ireland since 1947. Then Corlett had Ellis caught at the wicket for 67 scored in exactly 3 hours. It was the 65th over. Francis, an opening bat and defensive player, came in. He made 15 in 42 minutes and was out with the score at 169 in the 77th over. He was caught by Milling at mid-on off the bowling of Corlett. At tea (taken after 81 overs) the score was 183-2, Elward 85, Robert 7. In the last session 45 more overs were bowled for 103 runs and three wickets. Elward ground his way to a century in 273 minutes - the first in Ireland by Wales since Riches in the 1920s. The usually aggressive Roberts was subdued. He put on 59 in 65 minutes with Elward and was out for 20 with the total at 228. The catch was deflected to Corlett at mid-on by the bowler, Garth. With M Williams in Elward's long vigil finally came to an end when the score had reached 253. He was bowled by Corlett (after 106.3 overs) and the last ball delivered with the old ball. He had been in 312 minutes, faced 278 deliveries and hit 13 fours. It was his third successive "50" in three matches against Ireland, and the chances he gave early on had been expensive. Corlett took the new ball on the arrival of Harris and had him LBW for 14 with the total on 281. The 6 hour day ended with Wales at 289-5, Williams 31, Edwards 4.

Rain during the night prevented play until 4 PM but it was agreed to play until 8 PM, so close on three hours were lost. Conditions were not ideal and Wales batted on not wishing to bowl with a wet ball. The first session lasted 32 minutes. Then a shower caused a 24 minute delay during which time Wales declared the innings closed at 326-7. The 11.4 overs bowled today were by Halliday and McBrine and they took one wicket each. 300 came up in 130.3 overs. At 310 McBrine bowled Williams whose 43 occupied 115 minutes - a strange innings as he had come in with the score on 228-3. At 326 Halliday had Edwards caught for 19. The final tally was 326-7 in 137.4 overs. Corlett was the leading bowler with 4-70 in 32 overs of constant hostility. The two spinners conceded 134 runs in 58.4 overs.

154 minutes remained of the second day, overcast and dull in contrast to the first, when Warke and Cohen began to Kitson and Binnie. It was decided that Masood should be at number four. In 12 overs up to tea (50 minutes play) Ireland lost Warke, caught at slip off Kitson for 9 with the total at 27. The score at tea was 40-1, Cohen 21, Dennison 5. These two had a steady partnership of 96 in 110 minutes. 100 came up in 34.4 overs and Wales used all their five bowlers. Cohen was in good form and reached 50 in 111 minutes. At 123 he was caught at the wicket off slow left-arm bowler Evans for 64. He should have been stumped at 170. Masood (7) saw the day out with Dennison (49) at 139-2 off 46 overs.

The last day was 11 AM to 5:45 PM and it was warm and sunny again. Speed was of the essence and Masood produced it. 19 overs in 64 minutes brought 86 runs, 62 of them to Masood. When he was 11 he reached 1000 runs for Ireland in 29 minutes. This beat the record of TG McVeagh. His old record of 31 innings had been reached in 1934. Masood banged away merrily and was dropped off skiers by Elward at mid-off when 27 and by Ellis as extra cover when 34, Kitson and Binnie being the unfortunate bowlers. Masood got to 50 in 66 minutes and in all got 69 in 77 minutes with 1 six, 1 five and 7 fours. Dennison went to his 50 in 129 minutes and was caught off Kitson at 179. 179-3-59. 200 came in 60.2 overs. At the declaration, Masood had been caught off a skier at 225, leaving Ireland 101 runs behind. Kitson had taken 3-52 in 16 overs and the innings lasted 65 overs.

200 minutes playing time +20 overs minimum remained when Wales went in again at 12:16 PM. Ellis brought Harris in with him and in 43 minutes up to lunch (12 overs) the total moved to 25-0, Ellis 15, Harris 7. Corlett bowled a spell of 11 overs on either side of lunch for only 12 runs. McBrine replaced Milling for the 11th over and Halliday came on for the 24th over. At 34 McBrine bowled Ellis. Francis came in but lost Harris at 59, also bowled by McBrine. This was in the 29th over and 84 minutes had been used up. And then came Roberts!. His innings of 60 in 35 minutes made a declaration possible and was the best thing that could have happened from an Irish viewpoint. Roberts faced 39 deliveries and hit five sixes and four fours. He came in for over 30 and began his real assault in over 33.

Two fours were scored in this over and in McBrine's next over, the 35th, Roberts hit 18 including two sixes. The next over from McBrine yielded two more sixes. Garth replaced McBrine but Roberts hit his last six in Halliday's over - the 40th. Roberts 50 came in 26 minutes. He was out to the first ball of Garth's second over, the 41st, caught at the wicket by Jackson. The Francis/Roberts partnership added 80 in 35 minutes in 11.1 overs. It was a marvellous assault.

The declaration which came at 139-3 meant that Ireland needed 241 in 75 minutes plus a minimum of 20 overs - an improbable target. There were 50 minutes before tea in which Ireland scored 51-1 off 16 overs. Cohen was in great form score 32 out of 47 before being LBW to Ellis who came on for the ninth over with his off spin. Edwards came on for the 10th over and the two spinners bowled in harness, except for three overs, until the end. Warke was 13 and Masood 1 at tea.

Play resumed at 4:22 PM and in 23 minutes before the last 20 0vers were called, Ellis and Edwards bowled 10 overs during which 38 runs were scored. At 52, Masood (2) was dropped at the wicket of Edwards - a vital chance. On reaching 32 Warke reached 1000 runs for Ireland in his 39th innings, the 22nd batsmen to do so and the second in this match. On the call of the last 20 overs 152 were needed, and the 27th over was starting. 89-1 was the score. 100 came up in 34.2 overs. Masood got 43 in 49 minutes off 54 balls. He added 88 with Warke in 49 minutes and Warke's share was 40. He reached 50 in 94 minutes just before Masood was out. Masood skied Ellis to Roberts on the boundary with the total on 135 after 6.2 overs of the last 20.

McBrine came in and played marvellously well. The key here was to score off as many deliveries as possible rather than hitting fours and sixes. Indeed 106 were needed in 13.4 overs after Masood was dismissed. In getting these only three sixes and four fours were hit. However, Warke scored off 38 of the last 42 balls he faced while McBrine scored off 27 of his 37 balls. With 13 overs to go 104 were needed, 8 per over. Kitson yielded eight, Ellis seven, Edwards (on for Kitson) seven.

Now the score was 159-2, there were 10 overs left and 82 still needed. Ellis conceded 11 in the first of these last 10, Edwards 7 in the second. In the third, Warke hit a six off Ellis and McBrine was dropped on the boundary (an easy catch) with the score on 186 when he was only 12. Carey was the fielder. In the fourth Edwards conceded 11, including another Warke six. Ellis conceded 7 in the fifth, and 200 had come up in 40.1 overs. The sixth by Edwards yielded 8 and Warke went to his second century for Ireland (his father also scored two) off the last ball. He had been in for 129 minutes, his last 50 coming in 35 minutes. Warke was out next ball, the first of the seventh of the last 10 overs with 27 still needed.

79 had come in 34 minutes with McBrine who was now 22. 6 runs came in the next 5 balls and the last, a vital ball, was hit to leg for four by McBrine. 10 had come off the over and 17 were still needed with three overs to go. Of the next Edwards conceded 7 so 10 were now needed. These were got in the next over, McBrine hitting a huge leg side six off the second ball. Ireland therefore had reached 241 in 45 overs, with an over to spare at the end. A famous and unexpected win. All credit to Wales who declared when they could not have won on this pitch, but it did look as if they could not lose either.

Warke, after a year out of form, came good while Masood and McBrine both scored at a rate of a run a minute.

Sandel Lodge, Coleraine