This match was another good example of an Irish declaration which came far too late. A very good match was possible on the third day. Overnight Ireland led by 159 with only two wickets down. A 250 run target at a rate of four runs per over would have given both teams a chance. Instead the target was 281 in 146 minutes + 20 overs and the match petered out with six Welsh wickets down. If eight wickets had been down Ireland would have rued their tardy declaration.
Four years had passed since the last three-day match -v- Wales played in College Park. Only AR Dunlop survived from the Irish team of 1992 and three Welsh players, Sylvester, Harris and Griffiths. Due to both Countries having ever expanding programmes this current match will be the last between them of three days duration. The pitch at Rathmines held up well over the three days. The first day weather was very bleak but the sun shone for the remaining two days.
Warke and Lewis (work), Doak (getting married) and Graham (injured) could not play although it was now dubious if Warke would have been selected. Lewis broke a run of 59 successive matches stretching back to the Zimbabwe Tour of 1991. Rea was restored in place of Lewis. He cried off due to work and was replaced by Kyle McCallan, a young batsman and off spinner from Cliftonville. He was a new cap as was slow left armer Greg Molins (Carlisle CC), a brother of JA Molins who replaced Doak. Justin Benson took over the Irish captaincy for the first time but it seemed that National Coach, Mike Hendrick, was really in charge.
Wales arrived on the morning of the match and the start was put back by 15 minutes to 1 15 pm Wales sent Ireland in and new cap McCallan opened with Benson. At nine, in the sixth over, Benson (1) played on to Griffiths being neither forward nor back. McCallan played nicely and struck two fours. In the 30's two more wickets fell. McCallan (17) snicked Griffiths and wicket-keeper Powell took a good low one handed catch. Five runs later, at 37, Moore (12) was lbw half forward. Harrison and and Dunlop repaired the damage - slowly. Wales kept their seamers on for 24 overs and 50 was up in that over.
Off spinner, M Davies, and Bell, leg spinner, bowled before lunch which was taken after 31 overs at 63-3, Dunlop 17, Harrison 11. M Davies continued after lunch with Melville. Eventually, at 99, Davies had Harrison (32 in 96 balls) caught at slip attempting a cut. Heasley joined Dunlop and 100 was up in over 42. Both batsmen went carefully. With two fours off the returning Griffiths, Dunlop went to his second 50 of the season in over 55 at 143. Four maidens followed. The Dunlop hit Griffiths for 10 in an over to bring up 150 in over 61. Tea was taken after 65 overs at 161-4, Dunlop 64, Heasley 20. At 165 M. Davies sent Heasley (20) on his way with a direct hit on the stumps. Rutherford was Dunlop's next partner and another stand of over 60 ensued. It was 68 and the best of the innings. Dunlop exceeded his previous highest score - 69 in his very first innings for Ireland -v- MCC in 1990 - and moved towards a century. 200 came in over 77. Dunlop reached 99 in over 82 but his century was not to be. Barry Davies aborted his run up in a spot of gamesmanship. Next ball Dunlop wandered down the pitch, missed, and was stumped. 233 for 6. Dunlop batted 257 minutes faced 187 balls and hit a six and ten fours. He was in good company in making 99 following Short, Anderson and Warke.
With 50 minutes left this seemed a good declaration point but it did not happen. Ireland batted to the close adding 52 in 12 more overs. Three more wickets fell. Eagleson made 23 in a stand of 44. He hit Griffiths for a straight six and was caught at deep square leg next ball at 277. McCrum was lbw at 279 and Patterson stumped at 281, both off M Davies. Rutherford played a splendidly busy innings and was undefeated for 47 by the close. He faced 73 balls and hit four fours. In 94 overs Ireland scored 285 for nine and declared. Griffiths had 3 for 52 in 20 overs and M Davies 3 for 48 in 22.
The second day extended over seven hours play. Sylvester and Harris began at great speed. Each hit two fours but by the end of the third over a wicket had fallen and the score was 21. Sylvester chased a wide ball from Patterson and Rutherford took the catch. 12 runs later, in the ninth over, Patterson had another wicket. Bell pushed forward and was bowled off stump. 50 came up in over 13. McCrum then bowled three overs for 20. In the midst of them Eagleson replaced Heasley (a surprise opening bowler) and bowled the driving Harris for 32 at 61. Molins was given his first bowl at 72. In the next over the left handed Jenkins, then 21, was caught at slip off an Eagleson no-ball. This was unfortunate as Jenkins went on to make 72. In his third over Molins took his first International wicket when Lewis (15) skied to mid-off at 97.
100 came in over 25 but another wicket fell before lunch. B Davies made 25 off 29 balls in a stand of 39. McCrum was back. He was driven for four and bowled Davies next ball. 136-5-25. Lunch came after 33 overs (in 140 minutes!) at 140 for 5, Jenkins 40, M Davies 4. Harrison was now bowling a tidy spell, his first six overs for nine runs. 150 was up in over 37. The sixth wicket added 52, the best Welsh stand. Jenkins went to 50 at 161. Patterson took the next wicket at 188 when he bowled M. Davies (28) "through the gate". Wales could not be finished off. Skone came in at number eight and proved very obdurate. He was not out for 38 off 95 balls when the innings ended. 200 came in over 48. At 217 Jenkins's long stay ended. In so doing an Irish record was equalled. Kyle McCallan, an off spinner, had his first bowl for over 54. Jenkins chipped his first ball to Patterson at cover. It is the third known instance of an Irish bowler taking a wicket with his first International ball. Previously JP Maxwell did it v MCC at Lords in 1883 and TC Ross against South Africans, also at Rathmines, in 1894. Jenkins batted 194 minutes, faced 127 balls a hit a six (off Patterson) and 12 fours. McCallan continued to bowl and in 9.5 overs took 3 for 10. At 231, in his 4th over, he clean bowled Melville, head up swinging. Tea was taken at 253 for 8.
The 9th wicket added 24. Powell made only three of these before he snicked Patterson to Rutherford. McCallan had the number 11 stumped, in horse racing parlance, "by a distance". The Irish lead was 27. In five hours Ireland bowled only 72 overs, a very tardy rate indeed. Next best among the bowlers, after McCallan's fine debut, was Patterson, 4 for 56 in 17 overs but 10 no balls did not help. Seven bowlers were tried.
104 minutes remained when Benson and McCallan set out again. Wales bowled 28 overs using seven bowlers and Ireland scored 132 for two. Benson was in great form, driving,and using a leg side pick up shot. He hit four fours in five overs and McCallan added two more. 50 was up in eight overs with Benson 37. In the 9th over he hit Skone for two sixes and a four to reach 53 out of 66. In the 10th over he was run out. McCallan played a ball backward of square, Benson ran but failed on what appeared a hair line decision. 72-1-53. At 86 Moore (7) was dropped at deep square leg off Skone. At 90 McCallan, after a neat 26 in 35 balls, was caught at the wicket. Moore 23 and Dunlop 22 saw out the day at 132 for 2 in 28 overs, the 100 having come in over 20. The lead was 159.
The last day's play was of five hours' duration from 10 30 am Ireland to score 80 to 90 in not more than an hour seemed a good equation. In fact 87 minutes were used (21 overs) to score 81 runs for the loss of three more wickets. Dunlop hit M Davies for six in the second over and another one six overs later. 150 was up in over 33 and Dunlop reached 50 in over 39 having faced 70 balls. At 181 Dunlop (51) was dropped, one handed to the left, by extra cover off leg spinner Bell. Skone's first over of the day cost 16 with yet another Dunlop six. At 199, after a stand of 109, Moore (44 off 101 balls) was caught at long off. This was a record third wicket stand v Wales beating 105 by JF Short and IJ Anderson at Pontarddulais in 1981. Skone was removed in favour of B Davies but Dunlop hit him for a six and this over cost 11. 200 came up in that over, the 43rd. At 210 Dunlop (79), and after yet another six, skied Bell to mid-wicket who made a great one-handed catch falling backwards. However, the ball hit the ground although still in the fielder's grasp and Dunlop was given not out. Heasley hit 10 off six balls and was stumped. Harrison hit three fours as Dunlop once again moved into the 90's. At 94 a very good googly from Bell bowled him. He faced 98 balls in 129 minutes. There were five sixes and eight fours. No Irish batsman had previously scored two 90's in the same match. Four runs into his second innings Dunlop reached 1000 runs in his 43rd match and 55th innings. On Dunlop's dismissal Ireland declared having scored 253 for 5 in 48.5 overs.
Wales batted for 50 minutes before lunch and were 39 for 2 in 12 overs. At 13, Harris went too far across to leg glance Patterson and was lbw. Patterson then retired with a foot injury. At 29 Sylvester tried a leg side pick up shot at McCrum. He got a leading edge and was caught at mid-on. Lunch was taken at 39 for 2, Bell 6, Jenkins 5.
Wales went very slowly after lunch showing no interest in what was purely a cosmetic target at this point. 50 was not reached until over 20. Jenkins did hit Harrison for 10 in an over. The most notable event came in over 34 at 98 when Bell (22) skied Harrison to short square leg. In the next over, at 103, McCallan turned an off break appreciably to Lewis and had him stumped. Jenkins then went to 50 in over 37.
The last hour was signalled after 40 overs at 125 for 4. Molins and McCallan bowled. In the fifth of these overs McCallan bowled B Davies with a well flighted off break. Moore was given his first bowl of the match at 158 and took a wicket with his fourth ball. The unfortunate Jenkins, now on 90 off 156 balls, flicked at a short ball and was caught by Rutherford. Jenkins double of 72 and 90 sustained the Welsh batting in both innings. In his second innings he hit 15 fours. After 18 overs of the last 20 Benson gave up and a dull last day ended. Maybe a win could have been forced if Patterson had not retired injured at an early stage in the Welsh innings.