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Match Report
Derek Scott

Two days after Scotland left Malahide, Middlesex came to Castle Avenue for the Nat West match. This brought back memories of the 1980 match at Lord's where Ireland did so well. They did well again, the bowling, fielding and catching being outstanding after Middlesex had been sent in. Ramprakash was a current England batsman. Cowans, Williams, Gatting and Emburey had all played Test cricket, the latter two presently banned because of a tour to South Africa. Tufnell (it was said for disciplinary reasons) Fraser and Ellcock (injured) did not come. For Ireland P McCrum replaced Smyth. Pounds 2000 was taken at the gate and there was a large crowd. For the second time in three years rain caused the match to go into a second day.

There was a prompt start on the usual low slow Castle Avenue pitch. Hutchinson and Roseberry (who played for England Schools against Ireland Schools) began cautiously to McCrum and Nelson. Nelson's first three overs were maidens and the score was 6 after 6 overs. In McCrum's 5th over Roseberry drove to Harrison at mid-off. 12-1-6. With Getting in there was a 35 minute rain break. When Thompson came to bowl his second over, and the 17th in all, the score had gone to 44. The next ball saw Hutchinson caught by Patterson at mid-wicket. 44-2-23, and Hutchinson had batted for an hour. In 15 overs up to lunch Gatting (18) and Ramprakash (23) put on 30 more runs making the score at lunch 74-2. Hoey by then had bowled 8 of his 12 overs for 17 runs and was treated with great respect.

When the match resumed after lunch there was a 47 minute session before rain came again and caused a 30 minute delay. In 30 minutes after lunch 47 were added in 9 overs. Harrison was expensive (27 in 5 overs) but Lewis broke the stand with his fourth delivery, Ramprakash being brilliantly caught by Warke at mid-on as he ran away from the pitch. 121-3-32. Gatting had by then gone to a watchful 50 in 96 minutes, running very well between the wickets. Hoey had finished his excellent spell for 33 runs. Brown came in and he it was who held the rest of the innings together for the last 19 overs which realised only 95 runs. Lewis kept one end going while Thompson, McCrum and Nelson shared the other end, the runs being equally shared at each end. There were no boundaries from over 44 until over 54.

At 160, in over 49, Gatting's (65) 135 minute vigil came to an end when Patterson caught him at mid-wicket off Lewis. Nelson bowled Emburey at 165 and Lewis had Cowans LBW at 166. Weekes stayed with Brown while 18 were added before Weekes was LBW to Lewis. Brown (49) who had played very well was next out with the total at 196, Rea taking a good catch at long leg off McCrum. Brown was in for 67 minutes and 58 balls and made his 49 out of 75 added. Farbrace and Williams saw 200 up and the latter was out to the second last ball - caught by Cohen at mid-on off McCrum. All the bowlers except Harrison did well. McCrum's 3-31 was excellent. Lewis had 4-47 in 10 overs. He was expensive but he took the wickets. Only Thompson (1-30) and Hoey (0-33) bowled their full 12 over stint. Despite the rain breaks Ireland bowled 60 overs in 212 minutes - 13 minutes below par. Six catches were offered and all were taken in an outstanding display of out cricket.

Tea was now taken but play could not resume for a further 20 minutes due to rain. Warke and Cohen started quite briskly to Cowans and Williams. However, the first ball of the 9th over accounted for Warke. Hutchinson took a blinding catch at gully off Cowans. 18-1-3. Rea did not last long been caught at the wicket off Williams, in what turned out to be Williams's last over. 21-2-3. Lewis joined Cohen (then 8) with the latter getting most of the strike and playing very defensively at the off-spinners Weekes and Emburey. In 10 overs 30 were added to bring up 50 in 22.4 overs. Emburey bowled 7 overs for 7 runs and Ramprakash replaced him. Then 21 minutes were lost to rain - an unfortunate break, at 73-2. Immediately on resumption both players were out. Cohen tried a short run that was not there and he could not get back. His 26 had taken 34 overs and 123 runs so he faced an unbalanced proportion of balls bowled. Two balls later Lewis went for a 6 off Weekes but only found Roseberry on the long-on boundary. His 25 had come off 51 deliveries. With Patterson and Harrison in rain prevented play at the end of Weekes's over and play ended for the day at 75-4 with 25 overs remaining. When Cohen was 5 he completed 2000 runs, becoming the 6th to do so for Ireland. It was his 52nd match and 74th innings.

The next day was fine but an anti-climax. Middlesex got through their 25 overs in only 84 minutes. Ireland scored 96 runs. Patterson hit a four and was caught at cover next ball. 85-5-5. Harrison and Thompson added 29 at a run a minute. Then Harrison was caught at long-on with the score on 114 and Thompson at mid-off with the score at 115. For the last eight overs the friendly bowlers came on and yielded 53 runs. Hoey enjoyed himself hitting 4 fours and a six off Roseberry, his six being the only one of the match. He and McCrum (16) put on 47 in 19 minutes for the ninth wicket. Gatting had McCrum stumped in the last over before Nelson hit each of the last two balls for 4. RT Simpson, the former England opening bat, awarded Alan Lewis the Man-of-the-Match award for his all-round play. He got a tie, medal and pounds 125. Previous award winners for Ireland were MA Masood and SJS Warke.

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