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Match Report
Derek Scott

A frustrating match for Ireland but not as close as the official one run margin recorded. This, because Garfield Harrison hit a six over long-off off the last ball of the match when Ireland needed 8 to win or 7 to finish on level scores. Level scores would have won for Ireland on the basis of the "wickets lost" rule in case of equal scores. With nothing at stake, Scotland having already won the trophy, this match was reduced to 50 overs per team as England were departing after the match.

Ireland played the same XI as -v- Scotland but Steve Dean (injured) was unable to play for England. He is probably the best batsman in England who does not play in the County Championship.

Why was the match lost? The last four overs of England's innings yielded 43 runs and Ireland conceded 21 wides to England's six. If the Smyth/Benson stand of 61 for the 4th wicket had produced another 30 runs an Irish win was probable but Benson then got out carelessly. After 45 overs Ireland were 139 for 7 needing 36 in five overs. Three overs later Harrison and Eagleson could only reduce the deficit by 11 and this included two wides. Eagleson faced 11 of these balls to Harrison's seven but there were nine "dot" balls in the 18. Seven came in the second last over leaving 16 to score to level the scores after the last over. Eagleson got a two and a one leaving Harrison to get 13 in four balls. He could only score three successive two's and the match was lost before he hit the final six.

Ireland won the toss and sent England in on the slow Comber pitch. Four wides and two no-balls in the first four overs by Patterson and Eagleson were no help! In the 10th over Waterton dabbed to short leg and both he and Benn ended up at the bowler's end. Warke ran in to break the other wicket and Benn was out. 29-1-8. Gillespie came on and Eagleson changed ends. At 42, in the 14th over, Waterton snicked Eagleson to the only slip. 42-2-15. One run later Roberts was caught by Ogilby off Gillespie and left reluctantly. 43-3-8. In the next over Eagleson hit Gott twice and then had him lbw on a full length ball. 48-4-5. Clarke and McLaren went slowly in the face of good bowling by Eagleson, Doak and Graham.

50 was up in over 16 but over 20 was a maiden with the score at 58. After over 25 the score was only 70 and by over 30, when Harrison came on, the score was only 82. Lunch came after 32 overs at 87 for 4, both batsmen being 17. After lunch there was no increase in the scoring rate, 97 in 37 overs. In over 38 Clarke drove to mid-off and Warke's throw beat McLaren home. 98-5-21. At 110 Roshier was well held on the mid-wicket boundary by Benson off Harrison.

10 runs later came another run out. Patterson running in from fine leg threw to Harrison to run out Evans. 120 for seven with just under six overs to go augured well for Ireland. Clarke took over and he and Usher put on 39 in 27 balls. Patterson's eight ball 47th over was a disaster, 17 coming. Lewis came on and had Clarke caught at long on at 159 (his 50th wicket) but Usher hit six and the over cost 11. Harrison was deputed to bowl the last over. It yielded 5 and got Usher out. He was beautifully caught two handed at wide long on by Doak.

Over all four Irish bowlers bowled out and at no great expense but the last four overs were brilliantly exploited by England.

The Irish reply had a very poor start. Warke was caught at cover at four. Doak, who opened, scored his first run in the 9th over off the 19th ball he faced. In the 12th over he was ball watching when Smyth called him for a run to mid-off and he was run out. 17-2-25. At 24 Lewis chased one from McLaren and was caught at the wicket. Benson and Smyth began to repair the damage although Benson started with two successive fours. 50 came up in over 24 and Smyth hit three good fours just before tea (25 overs) at 60. Smyth 26, Benson 16. 114 needed in 25 overs.

The pair brought the score to 85 in 32 overs (90 needed in 18) when Benson carelessly chipped Arnold high but straight to deep square leg. 85-4-27. Graham and Smyth eased the score up to 100 in over 38. Then the pace increased. Graham hit Arnold for a six. 114 was up in over 40 leaving 60 to be got in 10 overs. In over 42 Graham was caught at long on. 122-5-17. Smyth, in over 44, tried to nudge McLaren to third man and was bowled for 61 off 128 balls. When Smyth's score was 29 he reached 1,000 runs in 44 innings. Gillespie was lbw almost at once and as described earlier Eagleson and Harrison failed to emulate the English efforts in the final overs.

England used seven bowlers cleverly and none was expensive. Clarke was Man-of-the-Match. Scotland easily beat Wales in the other match played at Ormeau and so were the first genuine Triple Crown winners, albeit by dint of a "bowl-out" v Ireland.

The Green, Comber