A very good match played on a good Castle Avenue pitch, on which 1032 runs were scored. Wales chased a target of 282 in 170 minutes +20 overs until the eighth wicket fell. Ireland had eight deliveries at the last Welsh pair who survived. Wales, now playing in the Minor Counties Championship, were positive throughout but Ireland were guilty of some dour play on the second evening when in a good position. Ireland had three changes.
JD Garth was suspended for one match following incidents at the Worcester match in Malahide. RA McCollum was dropped and M Halliday was on holidays. In came new cap NE Thompson (fast bowler) and DA Vincent, both because they had done well on the recent Under 25 tour to Northern England. A McBrine was also recalled. The Welsh had their usual team with H Rogers (opening bowler) a newcomer.
The match started at 1 PM on Sunday as the Welsh had flown in that morning. Warke and Cohen got off to a great start and were still together at lunch (3 PM) at 94 for no wicket scored in 33 overs, Warke 32, Cohen 52. There had been a five minute rain break on a cold and overcast day. In the second over Cohen give a slip chance off Rogers. Wales tried six bowlers in this period but none disturbed the Irish pair. 50 came up in 16.3 overs and Cohen went to his 50 just before lunch in 94 minutes - his fourth such score in six innings in 1988. Ellis and Lloyd (off-spinner) slowed the post lunch scoring but 100 was up in 38.4 overs. Warke reached 50 in 144 minutes.
In 50 minutes after lunch 43 were added. Then Rogers came back and in his third over had Cohen caught at first slip having made 75 in 162 minutes with 10 fours. Masood came in and, as usual, scored quickly, 27 in 30 minutes. The off spin of Roberts was tried. Masood hit him for a legside six but was LBW two balls later offering no stroke. Hundred and 172-2-27, the 150 coming in 57.3 overs. Harrison joined Warke and when he had scored 8 he became the 25th player to reach 1000 runs for Ireland in his 30th match and 37th innings. Only two players had got to 1000 quicker, Masood, 29 innings and McVeagh, 31 innings. 200 came up in 68.3 overs, the last 50 in 11 overs. At tea (after 74 overs) the score was 217-2, Warke 81, Harrison 26.
After tea four wickets fell to Lloyd and Watkins (medium pace) between 219 and 226. Harrison slashed at Watkins and was caught at the wicket. 219-3-27. At 223 Warke's long vigil came to an end when Lloyd bowled him. 223-4-83. It was not vintage Warke but he batted 245 minutes, facing 205 balls, and hit eight fours. Without addition Vincent, on his home ground, was out without scoring. Off the back foot he drove at Lloyd and the bowler made a good one-handed catch low to his right. At 226 Watkins got McBrine, also without scoring. He slashed and was caught at the second attempt by Tremellen at second slip.
This was a mini crisis which Lewis and Thompson overcame by attacking the bowling and adding 81 in 45 minutes off 12.2 overs. 250 came up in 89.5 overs, and 300 in 96 overs. The declaration came one over later at 7:16 PM with the score on 307-6. Lewis hit seven fours in 69 minutes, off 75 deliveries, in his 53 not out, his first half-century for Ireland in his 20th match and 23rd innings. Thomson got 33 in 45 minutes off only 28 balls - a rousing first appearance. 16 were hit in the second last over bowled by Roberts - 15 of them to Thompson. Lloyd emerged with figures of 2-65 in 28 overs.
34 minutes remained to the 8 PM finish. Milling's first two deliveries cost seven runs but his fourth ball had Elward caught by Jackson diving to his left. 7-1-4. Watkins came in but only three overs were bowled when bad light stopped play at 7:41 PM. The umpires went out at 7:50 PM when it had brightened but there was still no further play. The scorer close was 16-1, Ellis 7, Watkins 4.
The second day began at 11 AM in cold, gloomy and windy conditions, but there were no delays during the day. Ellis and Watkins went off at a great pace against Milling and Nelson. 50 was up in only 8.5 overs. Then, in the 12th over, Nelson took 2 wickets in 2 balls. Ellis was caught by McBrine making ground as extra-cover. 56-2-30. The players had crossed and Watkins was caught at the wicket. 56-3-21. Francis survived the hat-trick but in the next over Milling yorked the dangerous Roberts. 56-3-0. Three wickets in 10 balls. This was the end of Irish success for another 37 overs. Francis and Puddle saw to that. Prior to lunch Thompson, Harrison, McBrine and Lewis were all given a bowl but 100 was up in 26.5 overs and, by lunch, 39 overs had been bowled the score was 136-4, Francis 38, Puddle 40.
After lunch 150 came up in 43 overs and it was Thompson who finally broke the 119 run stand which had lasted 132 minutes. Puddle reached 50 in 103 minutes but when he was 59 he gave Jackson another wicket-keeping catch and Thompson had his first wicket for Ireland. 175-5-59. Puddle hit 10 fours and the Irish bowling weaknesses had been shown up. Then, unusually, there were 4 successive LBW decisions. Tremellen, at 180, was out in this manner to Nelson. Francis had gone to his 50 in 130 minutes. With Lloyd he added 28 before Lloyd was LBW to Milling who had replaced Nelson. 208-7-14. Francis himself fell at 227 also to Milling having made a fine chanceless 85 in 223 minutes. He hit 11 fours with a wide variety of strokes. Masood, the seventh bowler, had five overs. Then Nelson returned in his stead. He had M Davies LBW at 245. Tea was delayed by 15 minutes when the last pair added 14. Harrison had been given a bowl and got A Davies. This was a brilliant catch by McBrine running in from long-on and diving forward to make a tumbling two-handed catch. 259 in 81 overs gave Ireland a 48 run lead. Milling and Nelson had four wickets each and Milling's tally was now 49 in 24 matches.
There was a two hour session left on the second day, 5 PM to 7 PM. Wales bowled 36 overs and Ireland, at close of play, were 105-3. This does not tell the full story. Warke was out second ball caught in the gully of Rogers. In came Masood. With a thrilling array of strokes he got 44 in 42 minutes, facing only 38 deliveries, with a six off Watkins and seven fours. 50 was up in 7.1 overs! A Davies came on for the 11th over with the score at 61, of which Cohen had made but 13. Davies second ball had Masood caught at the wicket. 25 more overs were bowled and off these only 44 more runs scored.
Cohen was at his most obdurate and Harrison took 19 balls to open his score. Ellis bowled 11 overs for 26 runs and Davies 11 overs for 16 runs. One would think Ireland were in the middle of crisis. 100 came up in 33.1 overs, the last 50 taking 26 overs. Then Lloyd, who had replaced Ellis, bowled Cohen. He had made 24 in 118 minutes off 87 deliveries. He had been dropped twice off Ellis when 13 - by Lloyd at point and Francis at slip. There were four minutes to go when Jackson arrived as nightwatchman. Close of play was 105-3, Harrison 31, Jackson one.
Third day was sunny in contrast to the first two. Ireland showed more urgency on a day which started at 10:30 AM and was due to close at 5 PM. In 90 minutes (27 overs) 128 runs was added for the loss of 4 more wickets. Roberts bowled 1 over then opening bowlers, Rogers and Watkins took up the attack. Jackson and Harrison were soon out. At 115 Jackson was caught at mid-off and at 126 Harrison was caught at the wicket for 34. Lewis and Vincent were not disturbed by this. They quickly played themselves in on the easy paced pitch. 150 came up in 48.3 overs. The pair launched into an array of strokes and 200 was hoisted only seven overs later. Lloyd and Roberts, both off-spin, were now bowling and were expensive.
Lewis scored his second half-century for Ireland (his first having come in the first innings) and Vincent scored his first. Lewis's half-century came up in 58 minutes with six fours and Vincent took two minutes longer and had eight fours. It was a splendid counter-attack. At 209 Lewis swept Roberts to long leg. 209-6-54. When he was 45, with the total on 225, Vincent gave Roberts a caught and bowled chance. At 233 McBrine was caught at cover and the declaration came with Vincent 52 not out.
The Welsh target was 282 in 170 minutes plus a minimum of 20 overs in the last hour. In five overs up to lunch Ellis (22) and Elward (5), put on 29. Ellis, when 11, gave Lewis a hard chance at third slip off Milling with the total on 18. The Welsh pair had 50 up in 10.1 overs. McBrine came on for the 14th over, when the total was 60, and bowled 27 overs in a row. Thompson, in his third over, got Ellis LBW. 88-1-47. This was the 21st over so Wales were on target. With the last ball of this over Watkins was caught at the wicket. 90-2-2. 100 was up in 30.1 overs. At 113 Roberts wound himself up and tried to carry Nelson at long-off - a big hit. He failed as Nelson, misjudging slightly, caught the ball over his head. 113-3-10. In this his sixth match against Ireland Roberts had failed to score at least 50 for the first time.
At tea the the score was 126-3, Elward 58 (50 in 130 minutes) and Francis 4. 40 overs had been bowled so the flow of runs had been stemmed. 156 were still needed in a minimum of 30 minutes +20 overs in the last hour. Ireland now had to buy wickets. Harrison did this very successfully. At 136 Elward mis-hits him to mid-on. 136-4-67. At 145 the dangerous Puddle was stumped and, three balls later, in the same over, Tremellen was caught by Jackson when a ball lobbed off his gloves. Lloyd now joined Francis. 150 came up in 48.2 overs. The 51st over was the first of the final 20 and 123 were still required. Francis dominated a 63 run stand which came in 38 minutes.
At 178 a vital difficult catch was dropped. Francis pulled Harrison to the distant mid-wicket boundary. Running full tilt Nelson got his hands on the ball but could not hold it. Francis was then 40. He went to 50 in 69 minutes and 200 was up in 58 overs. 12 overs still remained. At 208, after hitting McBrine for six, Lloyd was out off the same bowler - caught at long-on. 208-7-18. Joined by A Davies Francis kept trying - he hit Harrison for 16 in one over. In three overs 25 were added but, at 233, Francis hit a skimming drive to Lewis at deepish mid-off and was out for 69 scored in 92 minutes. He had become the first Welsh player to score two 50s in the same match against Ireland.
70 overs were due to be bowled and Francis was out in the 63rd. Nelson replaced Harrison for the 67th and Milling replaced McBrine for the 68th - a last gamble on pace. With eight balls to go Nelson had M Davies LBW but the last pair saw out those eight balls. Wales were 49 short of victory and, perhaps, once again a declaration had been delayed a little too long.
The brilliant Pakistan born Masood had played his last match for Ireland. His 40 matches (1982-88) yielded 1940 runs in 55 innings at a wonderful average of 38.80. He had 4 centuries and 11 50s. His 546 runs in 13 innings in 1987 was a record at the time. In 1985 he scored two centuries in successive innings. He was suspended after this match for having played for his club on the eve of this match. This was contrary to regulations and he had told a tissue of lies to cover it up. This was not the first time he had committed this offence. He was suspended until the end of the 1989 season but in fact never appeared again for Ireland.