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Match Report
Derek Scott

An interesting match was left drawn after the loss of four hours on the first day due to drizzle and a wet outfield. In general, with one exception, the batsmen did not bat very well but were rescued by the bowlers. Corlett and McBrine rescued Ireland twice. In the first innings they added 150 for the eighth wicket in 156 minutes, coming together with the score at 102-7. This broke the 106 record set in 1928 against West Indies by TG McVeagh and PA Thornton for the eighth wicket. In the second innings McBrine joined Corlett at 104-7 - a lead of 122 - with 66 minutes and the minimum of 20 overs left. They added 38 in 36 minutes and made the game safe.

The pitch at Coleraine was better than in 1986. It was slow and placid but took spin on the third day as a good pitch should. Ireland retained the same team as played against Sussex but missed the bowling of Halliday. Harrison, a much lesser off-spinner, bowled 20 overs in the match. Scotland had three "cry-offs". D Pauline, NW Burnett and W Donald. In came MJ Smith (for his first cap), AWJ Stevenson and DL Snodgrass. JW Govan, off-spinner, was also getting his first cap and K Scott was new to this match.

The first day was scheduled to run from 11 AM to 7 PM. Drizzle and wet outfield caused a delay and eventually a start was made at 4:45 PM and a three hour stint was agreed. For the first time since 1982 Ireland won the toss in this match and decided to bat - a decision not everyone agreed with. What followed was a very poor display of batting with loose and careless shots. Warke and Cohen opened to the bowling of Duthie and Ker. With the score at 10 Cohen (4) glanced Ker to leg slip. In Ker's sixth over, with the score on 27, Rea (13) was out to a brilliant low right handed catch at second slip by Philip.

At 40 Govan at mid-off slipped and missed a lobbed chance offered by Masood (then 8) off Duthie. In his ninth over Ker had Masood lunging forward and he was caught at the wicket. 48-3-10. The collapse continued when Ker took a fourth wicket in his 11th over. Dennison lobbed a skier to cover. 54-4-3. Warke was not in great form but defended well and hit 5 fours in his 36. He and Harrison added 25 in 39 minutes. Snodgrass bowled four overs in place of Duthie and then Duthie returned. In the 31st over he had Warke LBW on the back foot. 79-5-36.

Harrison was missed at second slip off Snodgrass but Duthie got Garth in the 33rd over. Garth played a push drive with the bat away from his body and was caught high at third slip. 82-6-1. Harrison and Corlett put on 20 but Duthie took his third wicket in the 41st over when Harrison drove a slower ball to mid-off. 102-7-17. Although it was not then known Ireland's awful batting was about to improve radically. Corlett (10) and McBrine (5) played out the remaining 22 minutes and play ended with the score at 110-7 off 47 overs, all bowled by the seamers, Ker, Duthie and Snodgrass.

The second day was warm and sunny when Corlett and McBrine resumed at 11 AM to the bowling of Ker and Duthie. The start was brisk with McBrine scoring 8 in Duthie's first over. Both players took every opportunity of scoring. At 138 came Scotland's only chance - a return catch offered by McBrine (then 28) to Duthie. Govan, off-spin, came on for the 58th over with the score at 141 replacing Ker. 150 came up in the 61st over. McBrine went to his first 50 for Ireland after 55 minutes batting today. He had been batting for 77 minutes in all. Corlett celebrated this event by hitting Govan for four and six. 200 came up in the 76th over Russell had been tried for seven overs with the score at 189. He was taken off when McBrine hit him for 15 in an over. Stevenson, another off spinner, was tried with the score at 218.

250 came up in 85.3 overs, the last 50 in only 9.3 overs. It was Stevenson who finally broke the stand when, in the 88th over, he had Corlett caught at the wicket on the leg side. Corlett had played second fiddle to McBrine, defending well, playing some shots (he hit a six and five fours), encouraging and talking to McBrine. He reached 50 in 156 minutes and batted in all 182 minutes facing 159. Jackson came in and McBrine was 98 at this point. In the next over from Govan McBrine hit the first ball for 4 to move to 102. He danced in delight to make a century in a first class match in his own North-West area. Four balls later he spooned a catch to square leg. 256-9-102. He batted 162 minutes, faced 158 balls and hit 12 fours. He is the first number nine batsmen to score a century either for or against Ireland.

In his next over Govan had Milling caught at deep mid-off. The innings ended after 90.1 overs at 1:25 PM, 149 runs coming on this second morning in 145 minutes off 43.1 overs. Ker had taken 4-54 in 23 overs, Duthie 3-99 in 29 overs. The spinners bowled only 20.1 overs and had between them 3-54. McBrine's innings was full of good sense. He drove through the covers and cut very well and all the time stayed within his own limitations.

The Scottish innings began after lunch. At 71-5, after initially being 60-1, they were nearly as bad as the Irish. Philip, who had made a century on debut in 1986, was out second ball. Warke took a low diving one-handed catch at second slip off the bowling of Corlett. Swan almost suffered a similar fate in the same over but the ball beat Harrison low to his left at first slip. Scott and Swan settled down and 50 came up in the 17th over with attacking fields. Garth was tried when the score was 37.

After a few overs rest Milling replaced Corlett. In his second over Scott got one high on the bat which lobbed to Corlett at square leg. 60-2-33. Milling continued his successful spell and took three wickets in four overs. Swan mishooked to square leg. 69-3-26. Brown had a torrid time. He seemed to be missed at the wicket, then just got out of the way of a good bouncer and misdrove the next ball to Cohen at cover. 71-4-2. McBrine had now replaced Garth and had Russell LBW pulling at the last ball of his first over. He had faced 22 balls without scoring. 71-5-0.

Ireland were now on top and a follow-on (109 were required to avoid that) was possible. It was not to be. Smith and Snodgrass, both second choice players, saw the 100 up in the 43rd over and were together at tea (taken after 45 overs) at 106-5, Smith 10, Snodgrass 21. On they went for a further 15 overs adding another 49. At 151 Harrison missed a caught and bowled off Snodgrass. This was not, however, expensive stop in the same over Snodgrass advanced, then left the ball alone, and was bowled. 155-6-49. McBrine, apart from changing ends, had been bowling all the time. At 163 he had Duthie LBW. Smith, in his first match for Scotland, reached 50 with a six of Harrison. Partnered by Ker he brought up 200 in the 78th over.

Ireland went back to pace bringing on Garth and Milling. After a stand of 64, Milling caught and bowled Smith for a well played and innings saving 79 in 185 minutes with two sixes and seven fours. 228-8. At close of play (which was 7:30 PM having been extended by 30 minutes) Scotland were 241-8, Ker 26, Govan five. Milling bowled well to take 4-81 in 24 overs. Harrison bowled 18 overs of off spin and Halliday was missed. Corlett only bowled 12 overs. Scotland declared overnight - 18 runs behind.

The third day was a short one (11 AM to 5 PM with no tea interval) and the sunny weather continued. The pitch now took spin but was still slow. Govan and Stevenson, Scotland's two off-spinners, bowled 43 of the 69 overs bowled. Ireland again batted badly and carelessly. At lunch, after 41 overs, Ireland were 84-6. This was a lead of 102. Allowing for 10 minutes between innings there were now 100 minutes plus a minimum of 20 overs left. Snodgrass, coming on for the 14th over, and Govan for the 15th, started the collapse. In the 19th over, with the score at 30, Govan got Cohen to lob a ball to backward square leg. The batsmen crossed but Rea was out to the first ball he faced, being caught at leg-slip off Snodgrass. In Snodgrass's next over Warke hoisted one to short mid-wicket. 32-3-18.

Masood and Dennison saw 50 up in 27.2 overs. They added 33 at a run a minute. Then Masood stupidly tried to carry the boundary fielder on a long boundary at mid-wicket off Govan. He failed! 65-4-22. An over later Dennison gave silly mid-off a gentle catch off Govan. 67-5-12. In the same over Garth, not having scored, gave Swan a hard chance at silly point which was dropped. In Govan's next over Garth, still on 0, was dropped at the wicket. At the third attempt Garth got out. He failed to get to the pitch for a drive in Stevenson's third over and skied to extra cover. 84-6-11.

This was the score at lunch with Harrison 6, Corlett 0. This stand went on for 31 more minutes after lunch and took the score to 104. Then Harrison stood still and was bowled around his legs by Stevenson. 104-7-14. The lead was now 122 with 66 minutes plus a minimum 20 overs left when McBrine joined Corlett, the joint saviours of the first innings. They did it again. They added 38 in 36 minutes. This, in essence, saved the game. McBrine clipped three fours in his 20 and was out at 142 when Snodgrass took a good catch coming over his shoulder at mid-off.

Jackson was caught at leg slip at 147. Corlett whacked a six and Milling four before Ireland's token declaration at 161-9 with five minutes +20 overs left. Corlett, in possibly his last innings in a first class match, scored 31 undefeated in 95 minutes off 96 deliveries. He had twice saved the game with the bat.

In 14 overs before the game was given up, Scotland lost three wickets for 37. Philip cut Milling low to McBrine at cover in the second over. 5-1-3. Russell defended for 19 balls and completed his 41 ball "pair" when he played on to Milling with the score at 12. McBrine took the third wicket having Brown palpably LBW pulling at a short ball.

Sandel Lodge, Coleraine