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Match Report
Derek Scott

Wales produced a new and picturesque venue, Usk, for this, the 16th match played since the series was revived in 1971. They also produced a new captain, Puddle taking over from Ellis. They also produced a new result by winning for the first time since the new series start. The previous 16 matches had resulted in 7 draws and 8 Irish wins. Ireland were outplayed in all facets and were lucky to escape an innings defeat. This was brought about by a 90 minute stand on the third morning by Patterson, who top scored in both innings, and Jackson. Ireland have now gone 17 matches without a win, equalling the 1949 to 1954 record. Wales also produced a young debutant, Mark Davies, who scored a century batting at number seven, although he might have been out early on from a bat/pad catch.

Ireland left out Spence (who does not play on Sundays) and Thompson, Cohen being sufficiently recovered to play. The toss was won on a British tour for the first time since 1983 and Ireland batted. The pitch proved to be awkward or at least the tall Rogers and Edwards made it look so. Ireland's poor score of 122 took 62 overs and only Patterson shone. Rogers had a great start taking wickets at 10, 19 and 24 in his fourth, fifth and sixth overs. Cohen gloved a lifter to the wicket-keeper; Vincent, with too much bottom hand, pushed one to short mid-off; Nulty "gave up". He turned away from one that did not lift all that much and pushed it one-handed to short leg.

Harrison and Lewis tried to revive the innings. Ellis, bowling quickish off-spinners and Morris came on. Harrison was LBW to Morris with the score on 48. The 90 minute session to lunch left Ireland at 52-4, Lewis 5 in 53 minutes, Garth 2. 50 had taken 25.4 overs. At 61 Garth got a leading edge to Morris and Puddle, jumping at short cover, caught a left-handed catch.

Patterson came in and 27 were added in 51 minutes. Rogers came back for the 49th over in place of Morris. Within four overs he had taken two more wickets. With the score on 88 he turned Lewis square on and had him LBW for 18, made in 119 minutes off 122 balls. Jackson saw the hundred up after 53.2 overs but was out at 106, bowled by Rogers after making a convulsive jab with no foot movement. Rogers finished with 5-44 in 15 overs. Ellis took the last three wickets. In 16 overs he took 3-12, the 12 consisting of 1 four and eight singles! Patterson was doing his best and hit seven fours (all the others hit six between them) and his 38 came in 93 minutes. Halliday was caught at slip with the score on 113 and Ellis finished the innings with successive balls at 122. Patterson was caught at deep square leg and Jeffrey at slip.

This had been a sorry procession but it did not seem so bad when Wales were 62-4 in turn. In nine overs up to tea Ellis (18) and Hughes (9) put 27 on the board. There was a 150 minute session after tea and wickets began to fall, the first 3 to Nelson in 7 deliveries. At 42 Ellis (28) was LBW; at 46 Evans was caught by Jackson, two-handed to his right; Bishop, having hit a boundary, was bowled in the same over. Garth replaced Jeffrey with the total on 61 and got Hughes (22) to lob one to mid-on in his first over. Puddle and Harris were now together and the two off-spinners, Halliday and Harrison, were soon bowling. Halliday bowled badly and came off after six overs, on a pitch which suited him. 100 was up in 33 overs. Harris (17) was dropped at deep square leg by Halliday off Harrison with the total on 108. Nelson came back for Halliday and had Puddle (38) LBW with the score on 120. Harris (27) and Mark Davies (5) were in at close of play. The score was 129-5. This had come in 53 overs. In 21 overs Nelson had taken 4-27, great bowling on a very hot day.

Whatever chance Ireland had was gone by the end of the second day, which extended from 11 AM to 7:30 PM. Wales reached 311, a lead of 189. Ireland, in their second innings, reached 102-1 but lost five more wickets in the last hour and were 122-6 at close of play. The first session lasted 150 minutes and Nelson and Jeffrey took up the attack. Vincent, of all people, dropped Harris (then on 31) at cover off Nelson with the score on 136. This was not expensive as, without addition, Jackson caught Harris at 141 off Jeffrey. Edwards started in great form. He hit a six off Jeffrey who went for 15 in one over.

Edwards and Mark Davies put on 50 at a run a minute, Davies going from 12 to 43. Harrison and Halliday came on and the latter bowled Edwards (18) around his legs with the score on 191. The next stand broke the Irish and banished any thoughts of victory. The two Davies, Mark and Mike, put on 112 in 137 minutes, spanning the lunch interval. Mark went to his 50 in 99 minutes and made 62 out of the 112 run stand. By lunch, the score was 258-7 after 94 overs. Various bowling combinations were tried but to no avail. Mike defended solidly while Mark speeded up. He had gone to 50 with a six and hit three more in his second 50, reaching 100 in 217 minutes, a fine innings.

Vincent was given his first bowl for Ireland. In his third over Mike Davies was run out. There was a late decision to run and Garth, from mid-on, hit the bowler's wicket. 303-8-42, and a new record stand for the eighth wicket for Wales against Ireland. Garth then then had Rogers LBW and Mark Davies rushed at Harrison and was bowled. Mark Davies batted 250 minutes, faced 209 balls and hit four sixes and 12 fours. Garth, 2-23, in eight overs looked under bowled. Nelson, 4-68 in 40 overs, was a sustained effort.

An hour before tea Cohen and Vincent began to the bowling of Rogers and Edwards. All went well, and briskly, until Ellis came on for Edwards for the 10th over. In his second over Vincent was caught at slip. 38-1-18. Lunch came after 16 overs with the score at 44-1, Cohen 24, Nulty 2. 50 was up in 19.1 overs and this pair went quietly along as Wales switched their bowlers around. Mark Davies, off-spin, came on with the total at 79 and remained bowling to close of play. It was Ellis who did the damage. He returned with the score at 95-1. 100 was up in 43.4 overs.

Then, in the last 19 overs bowled, Ireland lost five wickets, four of them to Ellis. At 102 Nulty (24) was LBW. Cohen had just reached his 50 (in 149 minutes) and was next to go, with the total at 107, caught at silly-mid-off. Cohen had shown all his defensive abilities which others could not emulate. Mark Davies now nipped in with a wicket, bowling Lewis with the score on 112. Garth hit a four but Ellis bowled him at 117, and had Harrison caught at the wicket at 122. Two overs later play ended with no further scoring. Patterson and Jackson were at the wicket.

The third day was grey and dull when play began at 11 AM. With the field in to take wickets Patterson and Jackson stayed together for 90 minutes against mostly Ellis at one end and Davies, Rogers and Edwards at the other. It was the 31st over of the day before a wicket fell. 150 was up in 73.1 overs and the deficit of 189 was wiped out. The new ball was taken with the score at 184, but 200 came up 16 overs after the 150.

Hope began to blossom as the score rose to 217. Patterson, yesterday and today, took 53 balls to get off the mark. Then he scored quickly, reaching 50 in 56 more deliveries in 109 minutes in all. He hit two sixes and seven fours into an empty outfield. Then, at 217, Jackson fell into his stumps and was LBW. 217-7-27. Ellis yorked Patterson for 63 as he drove with the score on 223. Halliday pushed to mid-on at the same score but Jeffrey and Nelson added 17 for the last wicket. Ellis emerged with 6-81 in 38 overs and with 9-93 in the match, the best match figures since F Ryans 11-75 at Ormeau in 1924.

The humiliation of an innings defeat was saved, but only 52 were needed to win. Jeffrey and Nelson took a wicket each, at 7 and 19, but half an hour after lunch Wales had won.

The seventh biennial tour had resulted in a draw and three defeats, and, over the season, there was no win, three draws and six defeats, five by County teams. Cohen on the tour scored 256 runs for four dismissals; Harrison 188 for 6 dismissals and took 8 wickets; Patterson scored 130 runs in two dismissals; Nelson took 10 wickets at 27.4 each.

Off spinner Michael Halliday's 93 cap record career ended with this match. Starting as a substitute in 1970 he took 192 wickets at an average of 30.3, he took 10 wickets in a match twice and 5 wickets in an innings five times. He was captain 25 times resigning after the 1986 season. He had no tossing skill losing 19 out of 25 including 14 in a row! Another player to say "Farewell" was JD Garth. In 26 games (1986-89) he never fulfilled his enormous potential with both bat and ball.