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Match Report
Derek Scott

This was Ireland's 15th match in the Gillette/NatWest Competitions and a third visit to Northampton. Of the 22 players involved in the 1982 match only Lamb of Northampton and England played in 1994 and was his County captain. Northampton fielded four of their 1987 team -v- Ireland, Lamb, Bailey, Cook and Ripley. Ireland had only two from that match - Warke and Harrison.

Ireland's show was respectable in a match which went into the second day due to a late start and rain which only allowed 43 overs in the Irish innings on the first day. Jackson and Hoey both had injuries. Millar came in for Jackson and. McBrine was selected for Hoey. McBrine cried off (work) and the former Indian Test player, M.V. Narasimha Rao (known in Ireland as Bobby Rao) was brought in for his Irish debut to bat and bowl leg breaks. He was 39 and had lived in Strabane, married to a local girl, since 1988. He plays as a professional with Sion Mills. Benson returned in place of Doak.

After a previously sunny practice day the match day was dark and miserable. A start could not be made until 3.30 p.m. and Ireland were sent in to face the current West Indian opening bowler, Ambrose and the England opening left arm bowler, Taylor. Warke and Rea scored four in four overs when rain caused another short delay. Bailey's gentle medium pace replaced Taylor but he bowled six overs for six runs, mostly to Warke. In his fifth over Ambrose cut a full length ball away from Rea who was caught at the wicket, a low diving two handed catch. Five for one in the ninth over.

Smyth started briskly and drove three good fours early in his innings. Tea and rain arrived at 4.40 at 29 for one in 18 overs, Warke 6, Smyth 19. P1ay did not resume until 6.20 p.m. and went on until 7.44 p.m. 25 more overs were bowled, firstly by Penberthy and Curran (who holds an Irish passport) and then by Bailey and Cook. Warke stirred himself in this session and was catching up with Smyth when he was out for 37. He lost patience at the gentle seamers of Bailey and was bowled, head up, at 88 after an 83 run stand in 31 overs. Five runs later Benson drove Cook to mid-off. With Lewis in, Smyth went to a fine 50 in the 40th over with five fours. After 43 overs bad light stopped play at 105 for 3, Smyth 53, Lewis 6.

Next day was fine and sunny with no interruptions and a 10.30 a.m. start. In the remaining 17 overs Ireland scored 77 runs but only had six wickets down at the end. Rao played extremely well on his debut, scoring an unbeaten 47 of those 77 runs. He got in, in the second over of the morning, when Ambrose uprooted Lewis's off stump, he being back when he should have been forward. Smyth fell to Curran at 119. He advanced, was not at the ball, fatally stopped his shot and lobbed to mid-on. His 61 included six fours off 122 balls. 10.4 overs remained when Harrison joined Rao (6). By over 55 the score had advanced by only 19 to 138. Rao now got to work whipping the ball off his legs and hitting Curran for a six, but the slow pitch did not help his wristy shots. A Curran over went for 13 followed by 12 off Taylor. In the 59th over Harrison skied Curran to mid-wicket where Ambrose took a catch at full stretch running towards the boundary. 182 for six was the final tally. Rao 's 47 came off only 52 balls with a six and four fours. Ambrose had two for 17 in his 12 overs while Taylor was the most expensive conceding 38 in eight wicketless overs.

Warren, a left hander, and Felton opened for Northampton at 11.50 a.m. with Moore and Cooke bowling. The start was slow with 23 in 10 overs. Then the pace increased with 10 off a Moore over and 12 off the next by Cooke. By lunch (15 overs) the score was 58, Warren 29 and Felton 24. Rao bowled a good spell after lunch with his leg breaks. At 85 in the 21st over he had Felton lbw for 37. 10 runs later and in his eighth over Rao had Bailey caught at mid-off from a mis-timed lob shot.

With Lamb in 100 came up in 33 overs and three overs later Warren went to 50 off 107 balls. Rao finished his 12 over stint, taking two for 31. Harrison had bowled in tandem with Rao and in his 11th over had Lamb brilliantly stumped by Millar down the leg side. Loye joined Warren in the 42nd over and no more wickets fell. 150 came up after 48 overs and the question was could Warren make a maiden century on the first XI. He was playing as a substitute for the injured Fordham. Warren was 99 when Loye hit a four off the first ball of an over to bring the scores level. He blocked the next five balls and Warren duly got his single to complete 100 and win the match. He faced 155 halls and hit a six and nine fours. Warren got the Man-of-the-Match Award.

The match finished at 3.40 p.m. and by 5.15 p.m. the Dublin party were on a plane ex Luton for home.