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Match Report
Derek Scott

A poor pitch did not help this match. In a very fine spell it looked rough at the start and made fluent batting difficult. Middlesex brought all their batting stars except Haynes (Injured), while bowlers Tufnell, Williams and Cowan were also out of action. AIB sponsored the Saturday when the crowd was disappointing despite it being a closed date. JMA sponsored Sunday and a sponsor's marquee operated on both days. Ireland recalled three players who were unable to make the 1991 British Tour, A Nelson, Harrison and Jackson. Vincent had retired and a debut was given to Uel Graham, the Lisburn batsmen. Warke had injured feet so Lewis was captain for the first time.

Sent in, Middlesex had a terrible start. McCrum bowled 2 wides (and bowled 5 in all in his first 4 overs). It was Nelson took the first wicket with his first ball having the prolific Roseberry caught by Jackson in his second over McCrum bowled Keech who offered no stroke. Ramprakash clipped McCrum square leg in his fourth over where McBrine, available for the first time since 1989, took a good low catch. 8-3! Gatting and Brown went carefully and put on 31 in 50 minutes. McCrum bowled 8 overs, took 2-12, and was not seen again. Hoey was on with the score at 25 and Lewis at 35. The former had Gatting LBW in his third over. 39-4-20.

At 49 a vital catch was missed. Brown (then 14) hit Lewis to McBrine at cover. The usually sure fielder dropped it as he went to take it in his left (and good) hand. Brown and Sims went on to add 77 at more than a run a minute. By lunch (taken after 39 overs) the score was 115-4, Brown 38, Sims 34. McBrine bowled for the first time after lunch and had Sims (still on 34) caught at third man in his second over. 116-5 2 more wickets fell, at 144 and 190, before the declaration came at 190-7 at 3:23 PM after 56.3 overs. Brown dominated the post lunch period. He went to 50 in 130 minutes, hit 10 fours and was 82 not out at the end. The missed catch was vital. Seven bowlers were tried. McCrum, Hoey and McBrine got two wickets each.

There were 55 minutes to tea. Middlesex used their three fast bowlers, Fraser, Johnson (a very promising 17-year-old) and Taylor (left-arm) plus a couple of overs from Emburey. All went well until, at 25, Dunlop dragged a wide ball on to his wicket. At tea, after 16 overs, the score was 35-1, Cohen 13 and Graham, playing well, 11. Cohen and Lewis both were out in the same way, caught at first slip by Brown off Johnson, both slashing at rising wide deliveries. Cohen (13) fell with the score at 35, Lewis (19) at 63. Emburey bowled 8 overs for 1 run while Graham and Patterson re-established the innings. Weekes, offspin, came on with the total at 93. 100 was up in 39.3 overs. Then Fraser got Graham caught at 102 for a well concentrated 28 - a good debut. Still at 102 Weekes took two wickets in one over. He had Patterson caught for 25 and McBrine caught at leg slip two balls later. Ramprakash then bowled 4 overs and Harrison (7) and Jackson (11) saw the day out with the score at 121-6.

Next morning Gatting bowled an over for 17 runs and Roseberry 3 balls for 10 runs. Jackson hit 23 of the 27 scored including 2 sixes. At this point, 42 behind, Ireland declared. In 34 overs up to lunch Middlesex put on 87-4. Keech was out for 5, caught high by Hoey at second slip off McCrum. Hoey came on with the score at 36 and had Roseberry (17) caught at slip in his first over. Ramprakash went out knowing he had been left out of the squad for the second Test. He failed again when McCrum had him caught by Jackson for 8 with the total at 50.

The next dismissal, Weekes, out for 32 to Hoey with the total on 76, was very spectacular. Weekes hit a full toss to deep mid-off where Graham used his goalkeeping skill. He jumped at just the right moment to catch the ball two-handed over his head. Gatting and Sims were together at lunch, Gatting 10 Sims 11. Jackson went to have a hand X rayed at lunch and IJ Gould, of Middlesex, fielded as wicket-keeper for the 12 overs bowled by Hoey and Dunlop. 71 runs were scored and 4 more wickets fell, 2 to each bowler. 100 was up in 37.2 overs. Hoey had Sims caught at long-on with the score at 118 and, 7 runs later, Dunlop caught and bowled Gatting for 38, scored in just under an hour. At 141 Brown was caught at extra cover and 12 runs later Gould made history by stumping Fraser off Hoey. Middlesex declared at the end of that over. Hoey had taken 4-63 in 15 overs. Ireland bowled much better on average in this innings and used only 4 bowlers. However, the quicker bowlers were far behind the Middlesex trio in their basic actions and, as a consequence, in speed, direction and lift.

201 to win was the task in 135 minutes plus a minimum of 20 overs in the last hour. It was not to be on this pitch. Cohen hit Johnston's first ball for 4. The second broke a finger. He faced a third, a no-ball, and retired hurt. At 27 Taylor bowled Graham. Three wickets fell in 4 overs. Johnson bowled Lewis at 40 having had Dunlop LBW at 33. Emburey came on and had Harrison caught at silly mid-off with the total at 56. McBrine hit Emburey for 6 in the same over. Next over he hit Weekes for 2 fours, then hit wildly across the next and was bowled. 71-5 was the score at tea. The match lasted a further 26 overs. Patterson and Hoey added 25 as did Hoey and Jackson. McCrum and Nelson put on 30 for the ninth wicket (the last) - the best stand of the innings. Hoey hit 2 sixes and 3 fours in his 34, the highest score of the innings. Weekes took much of the punishment - his 14 overs costing 59 Middlesex won by 43 runs in the fifth over of the last 20, Emburey and Johnson taking three cheap wickets each.

The match was preceded by the first ever corporate dinner in the history of ICU. It was held in the Conrad Hotel. 270 attended at a cost of pounds 45 each and a profit of 2000 resulted.

Malahide