An extraordinary match! Set 319 to win in what would have been 70 overs Ireland reached 301 for six with five overs left. At this point drizzle, which had persisted for the previous hour, turned to much heavier rain and the match had to be abandoned as a draw. Ireland came that near a record breaking victory despite fielding only four of the team that had played the previous match, the European final, in Copenhagen. The four were Dunlop, Eagleson, Rutherford and AD Patterson. MW Patterson had gone on trial to Surrey and took six wickets, a Surrey record, in the first first-class innings in which he bowled. Curry, Graham and Doak could not get leave from work. Benson was to be captain but, with the selectors' permission, was allowed to play for his club (Malahide) for which he was professional. Heasley was injured and McCrum was left out to give Butler his first match of the season. He bowled nine overs on the first morning, broke down, and took no further part in the match. Others recalled were McCallan, Harrison, Greg Molins, Moore, Gillespie and a now fit again Lewis. The latter returned to the captaincy role when Benson cried off and would open the batting for the first time. Only Lewis, Dunlop and Harrison had previously played in a first-class match -v- Scotland.
Seven of the Scottish team were also new to this three-day match series. The pluperfect pitch at the new venue of Linlithgow, made for numerous records.
1) 1265 runs were scored, a new aggregate for any match played by Ireland.
2) Six Irish batsmen scored 50 or more. For Moore, Eagleson, and Gillespie it was their first.
3) There were 11 partnerships of 50 or more by both teams.
4) Angus Dunlop took his aggregate runs for the season to 672, average 44.80, thereby surpassing MA Masood's previous record of 546 runs, average 42, in 1987. Dunlop passed Masood's record in the match -v- Denmark in his 13th innings the same number as Masood played in 1987. Dunlop's seven scores over 50 (made in 16 innings) was another record. He was not selected for the first match of 1996.
5) G Salmond's 181 was the second highest ever in this match and the highest in Scotland.
6) IL Philip scored his fourth century in this series equalling John Kerr's record in the 1920's. It was Philip's fifth in all -v- Ireland and his second -v- Ireland in 1996.
7) The Scottish fourth wicket stand of 165 (Salmond and Williamson) was a Scottish record for that wicket -v- Ireland.
The first day was warm and sunny. The pitch looked a little green and indeed in the first session, but only then, gave the quicker bowlers some assistance if they worked hard.
The third ball of the match saw Philip give McCallan a chance at short leg off Eagleson. This was not expensive for, in Eagleson's next over, the escapee was caught at the wicket to a ball which lifted and the batsman's foot movement was negligible. Lockhart joined Lockie. Ireland kept an attacking field and there were numerous fours, 11 in all in the first 61 runs at which point the second wicket fell in over 14. Butler, six swift but erratic overs for 25, was replaced by Gillespie. Lockie sliced his sixth ball to gully. 61-2-32. Salmond came in to play a very fine innings which was chanceless until well past his century. Molins came on and he and Gillespie bowled in tandem until the score reached 91 some 20 minutes before lunch. Then Lockhart snicked Gillespie and was caught by the only slip, Lewis, diving to his left, two handed. 91-3-36. There was a double change for the six overs that were bowled before lunch. Harrison and Butler bowled them. 100 was up in over 32. In the final over before lunch, Butler, in his ninth over, pulled up lame and took no further part in the match. The lunch score was 105 for three in 34 overs. 16 fours had been hit because the bowling was not accurate enough. Salmond was 24, Williamson 7.
In the second session of 145 minutes 36 more overs were bowled by six Irish bowlers, 152 runs were scored, and 22 more fours were hit. Salmond and Williamson took their third wicket stand to 165, a Scottish record -v- Ireland for that wicket. Salmond reached 50 at 146 in over 47 and he was the dominant partner although the strike was fairly equally shared. Salmond quickened for his second 50 with fine clean drives and cuts. 200 came up in over 57 and Williamson reached 50 at 231 in over 66. Next over Salmond reached a well merited century. When he was 116, at 253, he gave Patterson a difficult chance at mid wicket which went through the fielder's hands off Eagleson. 16 runs were taken off the over and 250 came up. Molins returned and took a wicket, Williamson, with his first ball. A long hop was hooked to deep square leg and safely taken by Moore. 256-4-55. After one more over tea was taken (70 overs) at 257-4. Salmond 120, Allingham 0.
In 20 more overs after tea Scotland scored 123 runs before declaring at 380 for five. 300 came up in over 81 and then Salmond really cut loose. He kept the strike very well. He advanced from 137 to 181 in eight overs mostly at the expense of Gillespie, Molins and Eagleson. He was out at last at 370 falling to the deserving Gillespie. It was a full toss which Lewis caught over his head at mid wicket. He hit 26 fours, faced 231 balls, and batted just over five hours. The 114 run stand with Allingham took 88 minutes. The innings was allowed to continue for one more over to give Allingham his 50 off 70 balls.
Ireland conceded runs at four per over. Butler was badly missed. Molins and Harrison were inexpensive but it was Gillespie who had to take Butler's role and he took three of the five wickets for 93 in 18 overs.
The first two days were both of seven hours duration so Ireland had to bat 10 overs up to close of play. Lewis opened for Ireland for the first time in his 103rd match and was partnered by McCallan. Blain bowled a fast high full pitch at McCallan and was warned. The pair were together at the end at 25, McCallan 9, Lewis 8.
Blain, a teenaged opening bowler, and Williamson took up the attack on a fine warm Sunday morning. 50 came up in over 20 and in the next three overs five fours were hit. It was Allingham, in his fourth over, who took the first wicket at 72. Lewis (28) drove at a ball which kept a little low and was bowled. For the newcomer, Moore, Williamson posted four slips and a gully. Moore played with confidence but Williamson was unluckly as he passed both batsmen a number of times. 100 was up in over 32 and McCallan reached 50 out of 118 in over 36. After adding one more run McCallan was out to the first ball of a new spell by off spinner Govan. McCallan nibbled and was caught at slip. 125-2-51. Dunlop was hardly in when he twisted his neck and the physio had to be summoned. He (5) and Moore (25) were together at lunch at 133 for 2 from 33 overs bowled in the morning period.
150 was up in over 46. Dunlop hit a big six off Govan. Blain received a second warning for a high full toss at Moore. Moore was not daunted and went to 51, his first half century for Ireland, in the next over with a big six over long on off Govan. It was dropped in the crowd by Irish Cricket Union President, Michael Rea! Dunlop hit three fours in the next over from Gardiner but then lost Moore who did not add to his 51. He swept Goven to deep square leg where the youthful Blain sprinted 20 yards to his 1eft to bring off a great catch. 191-3-51. Patterson came in full of bustle. 200 was up in over 57. Patterson hit Govan for 12 in one over. Govan was replaced by Tennant who, at once, had Patterson stumped as he pushed forward to a wide ball. 213-4-16. In his next over Tennant had Gillespie stumped. He needlessly lifted his foot long after the ball had been taken. 221-5-0.
Dunlop took nine off the 65th over going from 48 to 57. At that score he was out to another great catch at long off by Allingham off Tennant. It went very high and was swirling. 242-6-57. Tennant had now taken three wickets in a four over spell for six runs.
Harrison and Eagleson enjoyed themselves up to tea. In the 12 overs remaining in the session they added 64 and hit 13 fours between them. The tea score (78 overs) was 308-5, Harrison 30, Eagleson 36. The question was would Ireland declare behind? Ireland batted for 14 balls after tea. Eagleson hit 12 off the first over (Williamson) and on reaching his maiden 50 the declaration came. 323-5, Harrison 31, Eagleson 50 off 55 balls with nine fours. Ireland had indeed declared behind to the tune of 57 runs. Tennant only bowled 12 of Scotland's 80 overs. Seven were maidens md he took three for 28.
Almost two hours remained on this second day, with, now, a challenge put before Scotland. Ireland's start was better than in the first innings. By the close (25 overs), Scotland were 51 for three. Gillespie opened the bowling in place of Butler and he took two of these three wickets. The first, Lockie, fell to Eagleson in the fourth over. Four fours had already been struck (three to Philip) when, at 26, Lockie played no shot and became the first LBW victim of the match. Lockhart arrived and watched Philip hit two more fours off Moore, a surprising first change, 49 was up in 10 overs. Then Lockhart hooked Gillespie upwards to deep long leg. Eagleson ran leftwards and caught two handed above his head. In Gillespie's next over Salmond, still scoreless after facing 10 balls, gave Rutherford a low two handed catch. The next ball saw McCallan, at short leg, miss a sharp chance off newcomer Davies. There were no further Scottish alarms until the last over of the day bowled by Eagleson. Davies (9) gave Moore a difficult chance at gully and off the final ball Philip went to 50 out of 97 for three, Davies 14.
The last day started at 10 30 am in hazy sunshine. Eagleson and Gillespie were the bowlers. A four to Philip in the first over brought 100 up. Philip hit three more fours and Davies two before the latter tried to cut Gillespie, without foot movement, and was caught by Rutherford. 128-4-24. Molins came on and Philip (77) was dropped by Rutherford in the left armer's first over - an expensive miss. 150 was up in over 38. Harrison's return to the bowling crease was greeted by Williamson hitting a four and then, next ball, a six over long-off. Philip slowed as he neared his century. When 92 he was missed, low left handed by Dunlop, at slip off Harrison. Williamson hit Molins for a six and was powering his way to 50 when he dabbed at a wide ball from Molins and was caught at slip by Dunlop. He faced 42 balls for his 49 with two sixes and six fours. 205 for five. Having been 90 after over 39 Philip eventually went to 100 in over 49. It was his fifth -v- Ireland and his fourth in the three-day matches. Three overs yielded 26 runs including two sixes to Allingham. 10 of these were scored by Philip in one Molins over, the first four going straight through a jumping Jason Molins's hands at mid-off. Jason was fielding for Butler. The first ball of his next over gave Greg Molins his revenge. Philip swept it to short mid wicket when Eagleson took yet another fine two handed catch as he jumped 236-6-110. Philip batted 224 minutes, faced 146 balls, with 16 fours. Scotland's lead was now 293 but they went on for five more overs and scored 25 more runs for the loss of Govan's wicket. He gave Lewis an easy catch at mid-off at 244. Allingham hit yet another six and finished with 36 off 30 balls at the declaration at 12.32 p.m. Scotland had scored 104 runs off 32 overs on this third morning. Over the innings they had scored at 4 runs per over. Gillespie took 2 for 43 in 12 overs and might have been given a few more.
The Irish target was 319 in 195 minutes plus 20 overs. About 70 overs could be anticipated. 'The required rate was 4½ per over and this was not unreasonable on the still very good pitch. Lunch came after four overs by which time Lewis and McCallan had struck two fours each in a total of 26. Lewis 13, McCallan 11.
Allingham replaced Williamson for the first post lunch over. His third ball lifted. McCallan cut at it with no foot movement and was caught at the wicket. Moore joined Lewis. In over 11 Moore hit a four off Allingham to bring up 50. Next ball he reached for a wide one, again with no foot movement, and suffered the same fate as McCallan. Worse followed. In the next over, bowled by Williamson, Dunlop was LBW to a ball which cut back at him. 53-3-1. At this point there were four successive maidens. 33 were put on for the fourth wicket in 14 overs of which Patterson made 29 and Lewis a single! Then, in over 26, Patterson swayed back and drove low to mid-off. 86-4-29. At this point 235 were needed in about 44 overs and the rate had gone above five per over.
12 more overs were bowled before tea and the scoreboard started to move again. 55 more runs were scored. Gillespie was 21 at tea with five fours. Lewis also hit five fours in this period and was 45 in a score of 141 for four in 38 overs. 178 were needed in the last session and about 32 overs remained. With a four off Blain Lewis reached 50. He then hit Tennant for a six. Gillespie kept up his extaordinary ratio of fours. Drizzle began after 47 overs at 185. The start of the last hour was signalled after 50 overs at 193. Lewis 71, Gillespie 47. This over was bowled by Allingham. With his 12th four Gillespie reached 51 (three singles were his other scores) in 73 balls. Three balls later he lost Lewis. Lewis drove a catch to extra cover not being at the pitch of the ball. 198-5-71. Lewis faced 149 balls, held the innings together, and hit a six and 10 fours. Eagleson came in and hit two fours but Gillespie's splendid innings ended (for 53) in the fourth over of the last 20. 209 for 6. He was the third in the match to reach a maiden 50 for Ireland and the sixth in all. Only Patterson in the top six missed out. Never before had six Irish batsmen exceeded 50 in a match and never before had both teams produced 10 such scores.
The drizzle persisted and occasionally got heavier for a few minutes. Scotland gallantly stayed in the field and it was said that at one point the Umpires disagreed about the weather. Harrison joined Eagleson. The latter hit a six off off Williamson and he took 11 off the 60th over to bring up 251. Harrison milked the next over for 13 and scored 14 (including a six) in a 15 run 63rd over bowled by Tennant. Now it was 34 needed in seven overs. The rain got heavier. Seven off over 64 and 10 off Williamson's next over to bring up 301. But the rain won at this point as it really was too heavy to continue in fairness to the Scottish bowlers and fielders. 18 were still needed in five overs. It would have been an astonishing victory. Eagleson was 41 in 38 balls (a six and five fours) and Harrison with identical boundaries, was 46 off 45 balls. The last 10 overs bowled went for 79 runs.