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Ireland International Matches Database
Match Report
Derek Scott

After the euphoria -v- Middlesex it was "normal service restored" -v- Somerset at Taunton in the second B. & H. Cup match three days later. It was a glorious hot, sunny day and the pitch was dry and hard. Curry (work) could not play, a sad loss. Gillespie injured his hip on the morning of the match. Eagleson and G Cooke were the replacements, the latter playing his first match since the B. & H. match -v- Kent at Comber in 1995. DMP Moore was also with the party,

Dermot Reeve had left Warwickshire to coach Somerset who had three Test players, Lathwell, Caddick and Mushtaq Ahmed. The latter, one of the World's best leg spinners, had flown in from a Test Match in Sri Lanka the previous day. More is the pity that he did! Somerset had beaten Glamorgan in this section and were keen to be among the two teams to qualify.

Somerset won the toss and batted. Burns and Rose began briskly against Eagleson and Cooke. Six an over became the norm and 61 was up in 10 overs. McCrum and Cronje failed to stem the tide but both had a catch dropped. The first two overs from each cost both of them 16 runs. Cooke dropped Rose off McCrum and Cronje suffered when Eagleson put down Burns - a hard low catch at mid-off. Benson relieved McCrum. Burns went to his 50 but Benson's fourth ball swung and straightened to hit Burns' middle stump. 87-1-50, in the 13th over. One over later Rose skied Cronje to mid-off where Eagleson atoned with a good catch diving inwards. 91-2-24.

Ecclestone and Lathwell brought 100 up in over 16. They put on 35, most of them to Ecclestone, but Lathwell was dropped at the wicket off Cronje at 111. It was not too expensive. Cronje, in his 6th over, clipped Lathwell's bails. 126-3-8 in the 20th over. Harden joined Ecclestone in a 90 run stand in 15 overs for the 4th wicket thus maintaining the six runs per over rate. Cronje came off after seven overs (two for 32). Heasley and Molins were tried to no avail. 150 came in over 26 and Ecclestone reached 50 off 53 balls in over 31. 200 followed in over 32.

McCrum came back and got Harden (37) at 216 in the 35th over. He was caught at wide mid-on. Ecclestone was joined by his captain, Bowler, in a 40 run stand in six overs. 250 was up in 40 overs but in the 41st McCrum took his second wicket. Ecclestone, on 92, was caught at the wicket. He hit nine fours and faced only 83 balls. Bowler and Turner raised the pace putting on 55 in just over six overs but Cooke missed another outfield chance off Eagleson when Turner was only one. There was a flurry of boundaries in the Bowler/Turner stand. 300 was up in over 47 before Bowler gave Molins his second catch at wide mid-on off Heasley. 311-6-42.

The last three overs were packed with incident. Heasley bowled one of them for eight runs, Cronje one for 15 runs, and Cooke, the last for 14 runs. Turner and Parson managed 38 runs, three catches were dropped, and Turner was lbw to the last ball of the innings. Lewis dropped Parsons in the outfield in the Cronje over. In the last over, Cooke's, McCrum and Lewis both put down Turner in the outfield.

349 was a massive total. The pitch was good, the outfield fast and short in some areas, but seven catches went down. Of Ireland's seven bowlers only Cooke bowled 10 overs (for 76), McCrum and Cronje had two wickets each and Heasley had the best figures, one for 43 in eight overs.

Despite losing McCallan in Caddick's first over Ireland started at a great rate. McCallan was bowled playing to leg. Patterson was in great stroke making form. He was 24 out of 36 after six overs and had hit five fours. Lewis hit two fours but at 40, in over nine, he lifted Rose to deep mid-off. In the same over Patterson swept Rose for six. Then came Mushtaq for the 10th over. He took seven for 24 in 9.2 overs and the innings was ended in over 28! Mushtaq's first ball went for four wides. His second, a googly, deceived Cronje who was lbw. In his second over Benson hit a four but was bowled next ball playing back. In the same over Dunlop was caught first slip.

Meanwhile, at the other end, Patterson hit three fours off a Rose over. Heasley survived for a while with Patterson. The latter hit Mushtaq for a swept four to bring him to 50 out of 85 off 40 balls with a six and nine fours. It was a thrilling display but two balls later Mushtaq took his wicket. He drove flat footed to extra-cover. In his sixth over Mushtaq bowled Heasley on an unspotted googly.

Caddick took the eighth wicket. Eagleson hit two successive fours to bring up 100. Next ball he nibbled to slip where Parsons took a good low diving catch to his right. In the 22nd over Molins was bowled around his legs. Then Cooke (two fours off Caddick) and McCrum put on 19 for the last wicket in six overs. McCrum then became Mushtaq's seventh victim and all was over.

Mushtaq's beautiful display of the art of leg spin bowling earned him the Man-of-the-Match Award.