Ireland were defending their Triple Crown success of 1996 in the Birmingham area. In this first match the demons of Kuala Lumpur returned to the Irish team and defeat was by 19 runs. The toss was once again won and once again this benefit was thrown away when a near full strength Scottish team was sent in. Then when the chase of 219 to win looked like coming about there was the usual middle order collapse. It was self destruction with silly run outs, poor shot selection and an inability to plan and order a second innings chase.
Ireland were without Doak. Then Curry, M Patterson and Gillespie cried off and were replaced by new caps John Byrne (Leinster), Ed. Joyce (Merrion) and John Davy (Pembroke) in a party of 13. Davy is a quick left arm bowler and twin brother of Peter capped in 1995. The other two are batsmen. Joyce was only 18 years of age. He made a great debut in scoring 60 in very cultured style and a wide variety of strokes. He also bowls a little. For this match Byrne and Rutherford were left out of the 13 with A Patterson keeping wicket. The changes from the previous match -v- Yorkshire were Joyce and Davy for Curry and Rutherford.
It was a very sunny day and the pitch and facilities at the ground were excellent.
The "old firm" of Patterson and Philip opened for Scotland at 10.30 a.m. McCrum, once again, displayed his control, accuracy and hostility. He bowled his 10 overs for only 12 runs and dismissed Philip and Smith, both lbw, one at 9, the other at 35. Philip was back to a ball which hastened off the pitch. Smith played a wild head-up shot. Six runs came in McCrum's first over and so he bowled the remaining nine overs for only six runs. Salmond joined Patterson in the 13th over and together they put on 122 runs, in 29 overs in patient run accumulation which should have been a lesson to the Irish batsmen. Davy, Heasley, Molins and McCallan were tried and only Heasley was expensive.
50 was up in over 20. At 94, in over 31, Benson at mid-on missed a vital catch from Patterson (42) off McCallan. 100 was up in over 33 and Patterson went to 50 off 90 balls in over 36. Patterson, in the next over, had another escape again off the unfortunate McCallan. He was put down at the wicket with the score at 119. Salmond went to 50 in over 40 and 150 was up in the next over. It was Molins who broke the stand in his 10th and last over (the 42nd) which he had bowled without a break. Patterson was the third lbw of the innings. 157-3-68. Patterson faced 104 balls and hit a six and six fours.
Williamson came and went like a whirlwind. He faced seven balls, scored off them all, hit Eagleson for three successive fours. The over yielded 17 and Williamson, the non striker, was run out off the last ball - McCallan from behind the wicket throwing to the bowler. 182-4-17. Salmond was out in the 46th over and four runs later. He slashed at Davy to give the bowler his first International wicket. His 69 came off 100 balls with nine fours. In the last 31 balls Scotland scored another 32 runs and lost one more wicket. Lockhart hit Davy for a six and was dropped by Dunlop at long-on two balls later - 12 coming from the over.
Heasley became the fifth Irish bowler to take a wicket when he got Lockhart lbw (the fourth of the innings) swinging across the ball. 206-6-14. The last 10 balls saw Scotland add another 12 runs up to 218. 96 runs had come in boundaries. Ireland's two slow bowlers, Molins and McCallan went for 72 runs in 16 overs. The three fast bowlers, apart from McCrum, went for 133 runs in 24 overs.
After lunch Ireland sent in McCallan and Patterson to face Thomson and Steindl. Both scored quite briskly, 23 in seven overs. Then Patterson, neither forward nor back, played on to Steindl. The next Thomson over cost 12, 11 of them to McCallan. Then Lewis was run out. He called McCallan, sent him back, McCallan had no chance so Lewis ran past him so that he, the guilty party, would be run out. 35-2-1. Joyce came in and played carefully and stylishly from the start. 50 was up in over 14 but Patterson missed a full toss from Stanger in the next over and was bowled. 57-3-28.
The Joyce-Benson stand doubled the score in 11 overs. Benson hit a six off Sheridan in over 25 to bring 100 up. Joyce hit a back foot four in the same over and all was going well for Ireland. Then Williamson came on and Benson chipped his third ball to deep mid-on. 114-4-24. This, in fact, from a favourable position, was the beginning of the end for Ireland. The scoring slowed with Dunlop defending, only 16 coming in six overs. Joyce went to 50 in his first international innings off 75 balls at 130 in over 32. Next ball Dunlop played a terrible slog shot and was caught at mid-wicket. With Heasley in the rate continued to decline, only 21 in the next seven overs.
Then, at 151, in over 38, Joyce was run out. He played Williamson to mid-wicket. It looked like two runs and the batsmen set off for the second. The fielder swooped and threw to the bowler. Heasley saw the danger too late but Joyce could not get back. Joyce made 60 off 85 balls with seven fours. It was a remarkable debut innings for a boy of 18 and won him the Man-of-the-Match Award. Ireland now needed 68 in 12 overs with six out. At 161 Heasley failed to carry long-off moving to his right and Davy was yorked 11 runs later. Stanger bowled Eagleson at 178.
The last pair, Molins and McCrum needed 41 in 25 balls. Neither got out but only 21 could be scored. Scotland had won well and were a more dedicated and better led team. Stanger took three for 42 in 10 overs. Beven bowled 10 overs for 31 and Williamson took two vital wickets for 26 in seven overs.
The Scottish fielding and throwing was of a very high standard. On the same day England beat Wales by seven wickets.