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Ireland International Matches Database
Match Report
Derek Scott

The third Benson and Hedges match was the first at home and it was played two weeks after the Sussex match at Hove. Kent had never before played Ireland. They came to Comber having beaten both Sussex and Surrey. Another win would surely qualify them for the last eight. Their president, Nick Heroys, and about 50 supporters came with Kent. A good crowd paid 1500 in gate money.

Kent's England bowlers Igglesden and McCague (who was born in Larne!) were unable to play due to injury. Benson was the only England Test player in the team and he had played only once. Slow left-arm bowler Patel had toured India with England "A" in the winter. A. De Silva was Kent's overseas player and a Sri Lankan International.

Rea was not available for Ireland due to work. Dunlop was recalled in a squad of 12 to replace him. Then Butler, injured, cried off as did his substitute, Moore, also injured. Rao was brought into the 12 but was injured practising just before the match. In the end the 11 players left had to play, Cooke coming back into the team. The weather was very cold although the sun shone intermittently. The pitch was slow and a bit low. Blue Circle were sponsors and had a marquee on the ground.

After the good day at Hove, the day was demoralising for the Irish. Lewis won the toss and batted but only he and Graham did well. 146 was the all-out score and Kent got there by 10 wickets in the 33rd over. Batting first was a surprise choice and the Captain found himself at the wicket with the score at 14-2 in the eighth over. Wren, left arm, accounted for Warke, lbw and Benson, caught at second slip, within three balls. Ealham, replacing Headley, who was the grandson of George Headley, got Dunlop at slip with his fifth ball. 21-3. With Lewis now in there then followed two stands, one of 40 with Harrison and one of 61 with Graham. Then 122-4 in the 46th over became 146 all out, the last five batsmen contributing five runs.

Through all this Lewis played very well. He only hit three fours (out of seven in the innings). By lunch he had lost Harrison, played on, and was 38 out of 95 scored in 38 overs. Graham was 16. After lunch Lewis hit 12 of a Patel over and reached 53 out of 116 in 103 balls. Graham hit Fleming's first ball for four and was caught at deep square leg off a wild shot off the second ball. 122-5-25. Fleming bowled Curry in his next over trying to pull a ball much too far up.

After Curry's dismissal Lewis made little effort to retain the strike. Of 37 more balls bowled Lewis faced only 12 of which he scored eight singles and four times he took singles early in the over. Cooke pushed one back at off spinner De Silva at 128; Patterson ran himself out going for a second run; Hoey was caught at square leg off a half hit and Butler was bowled. Lewis was left 67 not out off 132 balls, his first 50 against a County team in a competitive match. Kent used six bowlers, Fleming taking 3-18 in his five overs.

Ward and Benson, two prolific scorers so far at this season, began the Kent innings at 3:00 p.m. Tea was taken 90 minutes later after 27 overs. By then Ireland had tried five bowlers, without a semblance of success. Graham was easily the best and, just before tea, he bowled six overs for six runs, and beat the bat a few times. Kent were 118 at tea, Ward 48, Benson 60 (50 off 72 balls) and 17 fours had been hit.

Ward hit Cooke for 14 in the first post tea over and the end came in 32.1 overs. Ward had made 62, including 10 fours, and Benson 76, with 13 fours. The placing of shots between fielders was a feature of their batting. Graham yielded only 24 runs in 9.1 overs. Lewis was given the Man-of-the-Match Award, adjudicated by the Press. He certainly had more pressure to endure than the Kent opening pair.

The Green, Comber