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Match Report
Derek Scott

A mirror image of yesterday's match -v- Scotland. The same result, a 19 run defeat, the same middle order collapse when a winning position had been set up.

A very hot sunny day and a slightly inconsistent pitch awaited Ireland at Stourbridge, a ground sometimes used by Worcestershire. Ireland left out Dunlop (surprisingly) and Eagleson. In came Rutherford to keep wicket and new cap John Byrne, a batsman from Leinster Cricket Club. England had a strong team and were more disciplined than hitherto. They won the toss and batted. 209 was not a great score but not too bad after a start of 22 for three. Ireland reached 116 for two after 33 overs, then needing 94 off 17 overs. Then wickets fell, the rate slowed and 22 were needed off the last two overs with eight out.

McCrum and Davy bowled very well at the start. MJ Roberts had made a lot of runs against Ireland. Davy bowled the second over. His first ball was short but Roberts miscued it back to Davy. 4-1-1. The left handed RL Robinson drove a ball back into the pit of McCrum's stomach in the fifth over. 16-2-9. At 22, in the eighth over, Foster snicked Davy to Benson, the sole slip.

There followed a long-chanceless stand of 89 in 21 overs by Jon Robinson (ex Surrey) and Clarke. Neither McCrum (six overs) nor Davy (seven overs) bowled out. Molins and Heasley were tried and Clarke had a lucky escape, at 67, when he snicked Heasley to the boundary. 50 came up in over 16 and 100 in over 26. Then Joyce, in his third international over (he did not bowl -v- Scotland), took a wicket. "Nelson", 111, worked again! Clarke was caught behind the bowler by mid-off from a leading edge. 111-4-44.

Mackey joined Robinson. Benson had come on to bowl and the new batsman gave him a fierce caught and bowled chance at 115. The fifth wicket pair added 23 in five overs. Then Benson took three successive wickets in his 4th, 8th and 9th overs. Mackay was caught at long-on in over 34. The left handed Robinson went to 50 off 77 balls in over 35. He hit McCallan for a six but Benson bowled him while playing back in over 42. 178-6-73. Robinson certainly saved the innings and he hit a six and 10 fours off 95 balls.

Benson's third wicket was Usher who swung, missed and was bowled at 178. Wicket-keeper Waterton, who made 24, was next to go at 186. McCallan bowled him with a ball that spun a lot. The next McCallan over saw Oakes hit a big six to square leg and Elwood late cut a delicate four in an 11 run over. 200 was now up. Davy and McCrum came back to bowl the last three overs. Elwood was run out at 202. Oakes dropped the ball beside him and ran. The bowler, Davy, easily beat the non-striker. With the second ball of the last over Oakes was caught by McCrum at mid-on running to his left. Benson was the only bowler to bowl 10 overs, three for 43. Davy, in 8.2, emerged with three for 23. Molins, Joyce and McCallan all went for approximately five per over.

McCallan was out for one in the second over. He followed a ball from Arnold and was caught at second slip. Lewis joined Patterson in a 15 over stand of 57. 56 was up at the end of the 15 over limit on fielders. A bowling change bringing on Mackay for Oakes brought the second wicket in over 17. Lewis hit three fours but was playing carefully. He then skimmed a drive which mid-off took very well, low and two handed to his left. 62-2-19.

Joyce came in and began as well as he had done -v- Scotland. Patterson was in great form and went to 50 out of 83 in over 24. 100 was up in over 28. Usher came back for a second spell. At 113 Joyce mis-hooked and was dropped high up at short mid-wicket by Arnold. Two overs later he offered the same chance, less difficult, and Clarke caught him. Joyce must learn to roll the wrists and hook downwards. He may have been concerned with a dropping run rate.116-3-19. Benson came in and scored a single. Then, in the same over as Joyce got out, Patterson was lbw. His 69 came in 104 balls with seven fours.

Now the last six wickets had to get 93 in 16 overs, a rate creeping up to six an over. Benson and newcomer Byrne could not lift the rate. They could only put on 25 in seven overs. Byrne escaped what seemed a straightforward catch at the wicket at 119. Another change of bowler, Mackay coming back, got the next wicket. Benson sliced a wide ball to deepish mid-off. 138-5-14. Now 72 were needed in nine overs and the game was effectively lost. Heasley hit a couple of fours and was out in over 45 at 163. He hit Mackay straight to long on. Byrne, 18 off 36 balls, followed in the next over suitably caught at the wicket off a wide ball. Rutherford was bowled trying to drive. 185-8-3. Now 25 were needed in 15 balls. Molins had hit Mackay for a six but was lbw at 189 hitting across the ball. Davy was run out next ball when McCrum refused a second run.

The English fielding and throwing was very good indeed. On long boundaries many a two was prevented. The Triple Crown was now lost and it could have been retained with more disciplined batting as neither "asked" target was particularly high. Scotland beat Wales, but by only two runs, and would play England for the Trophy tomorrow. Ireland's lot would be to play Wales for the wooden spoon.