Following the most disappointing display in years when Ireland lost to Wales by eight wickets at Rathmines yesterday, they must now beat England at Malahide today to avoid a first wooden spoon in the Triple Crown.
Ireland won the toss and elected to bat on a slower than usual pitch at this venue but there was little to enthuse about. Barry Archer's 38, on top of his 39 against Scotland will surely have cemented his place in the squad against South Africa "A" in a fortnight's time. Opening batsman, Peter Davy, with 34 before again falling LBW was the only other significant contribution.
Chairman of Selectors, Ronnie Lawler, did not hide from reality. "The lack of consistency of the top quartet this week is very disappointing especially as we had started of the season so positively."
Dwayne McGerrigle was again the pick of the bowlers, and it was his economy while sharing the two wickets with Ryan Eagleson which was noteworthy, persuading the Welsh to look elsewhere for boundaries.
An abominable showing by Ireland in yesterday's Triple Crown match at Rathmines saw them riddled for a paltry 153 by lunch, with just over four overs remaining. Barry Archer's 38, scored off 74 balls, with four fours, Peter Davy's 34, off 64 deliveries with six fours and Ryan Eagleson's 21, off 47 balls with one six, saved Ireland from even greater humiliation. By then it was obvious that, barring a miracle, or a collective lemming-like leap by the Wales players from the clubhouse balcony to certain destruction, the inept Irish were in for a good, old-fashioned seeing-to.
Dwayne McGerrigle, who took a wicket, and Matt Dwyer, who didn't, bowled economically. Jamie Sylvester and Roger Clitheroe departed early, but top-scorer Gareth Davies with 64, off 134 deliveries with nine fours, and Kristian Bell with 45, off 77 balls with seven fours, saw Wales home to a comfortable eight-wicket victory.
Today Ireland face England at Malahide trying to avoid a whitewash. After yesterday, we will be watching this one in a mood of quiet pessimism.