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Match Report
Derek Scott

A ninety minute rain stoppage in mid-afternoon did not unduly take from this great occasion. A huge crowd, the biggest ever in Dublin, saw West Indies score 306 for four in 52 overs when the rain started. This left Ireland an hour plus 20 overs to bat. After three early wickets Smyth and Benson put on 161 undefeated in 92 minutes to send the crowd home happy. This was the highest stand for any Irish wicket against test playing tourists. Smyth was unlucky not to emulate his fellow left handed predecessor George McVeagh in making a century for Ireland -v- West Indies. McVeagh did so in the 1928 three-day win over West Indies and remains the only Irish century maker -v- a Test playing Touring team. Sri Lanka were not a Test playing Country when Ivan Anderson scored his century against them in 1979.

West Indies had a 2 - 1 Test lead when they came to Ireland having beaten England by an innings at Edgbaston. Hooper, the great Lara, Arthurton, Richardson (the Captain) and Bishop had all played at Edgbaston. On the Irish team Rea had displeased the Selectors on a question of commitment to Interprovincial cricket. He was left out and Molins returned as did Benson who took Gillespie's place.

West Indies batted first, of course, and opened with Williams and the youthful Chanderpaul. They raced away at Patterson's and Eagleson's expense. 50 was up in the 9th over, Williams hitting six fours and Chanderpaul four. Then Chanderpaul really cut loose. He faced all of the next three overs in which he hit seven more fours and was 56 out of 90 in 12 overs. Doak came on and caused a disappointing sensation in taking his first ever wickets for Ireland. In his second over Williams was caught. 99-1-34. The great Lara emerged. In Doak's fourth over Lara pushed back a catch to the bowler and the twin record holder of the best first class (501) and Test Match (375) scores was out for nine! 100 had come in 16 overs and, when Lara was out, it was 117 for two in 18.1 overs.

Arthurton, also left handed, replaced Lara. Next Graham dropped Chanderpaul on a caught and bowled chance when he was 71 at 128. This slowed Chanderpaul a little but Arthurton picked up the tempo. 150 came in the 26th over. Arthurton hit Harrison for a six. With a two off Harrison Chanderpaul went to 101 of 187 in the 30th over. Next ball he gave himself up - stumped. He faced 84 balls in 118 minutes with 17 fours. An innings of delightful strokes.

At lunch (33 overs) the score was 204 for three, Arthurton 48, Richardson 4. Arthurton went to 50 in the second post lunch over (55 balls) but scoring was quiet for eight overs. Then Richardson hit Harrison for three sixes in four balls to bring up 251 after 42 overs, A few overs later Richardson hit Doak for another six and was dropped by Gillespie (12th man) at long on in the same over. Richardson reached 50 in 76 balls and was caught by Doak at long off in the same over. As soon as Hooper arrived the rains came leaving Arthurton 94 not out in 95 balls, 120 minutes and 12 fours.

The rain was heavy but local and sun shone again when Warke and Molins emerged to bat against Gibson and Bishop. The start was ominous. Warke was caught in the gully in the first over and Molins was bowled hitting across the ball in the fifth over - both without scoring. At 26 Lewis flashed at Drakes (who had played -v- Ireland at Arundel earlier in 1995) and was caught at slip.

There ended West Indies success. Benson started with a boundary. By the time 50 came up in 17 overs Smyth had hit four fours and Benson two. Then Smyth hit leg spinner Dhanraj for 12 in an over while Benson hit two sixes and a four in Dhanraj's next over. 100 came up in the 23rd over. Now the non bowlers, Williams and Lara were given a spin for the last 10 overs. Smyth went to 50 in 66 balls and was quickly followed by Benson (41 balls).

Smyth then moved ahead rapidly in search of the glory of a century. With two overs to go he was 86. He moved to 96 with 10 off a Williams' over. Benson gave him the strike in the last over (Lara) with four balls to go. He tried too hard and only achieved a two off the second last ball. His 98 had 15 fours and he faced 107 balls, Benson's 74 came off 62 balls with a six and nine fours.

So ended a great day's cricket with many young people present in the very large crowd. Allied Irish Bank sponsored the match. A pre match Corporate Dinner on the eve of the match at Riverview Leisure Centre showed a big profit. At it Wes Hall, the West Indies Manager, came and spoke and brought with him nine of his players.

Castle Avenue, Clontarf