The South Africa Academy took a 2-1 lead in the one-day series against Ireland with yesterday's five wicket victory at The Lawn, Waringstown. Ireland were bowled out for 124 in 45.4 overs, with extras (28) surpassing the top scorer, Gordon Cooke, by two. The local bowlers were on a hiding to nothing against an Academy side which included all its leading batsmen.
James Bryant made 38 and Justin Ontong, who had scored a century in the first match the previous Saturday, hit an unbeaten 35. Ireland were still reeling from the loss of Stephen Smyth, sent home from the team hotel on Friday morning for disciplinary reasons, and Dwayne McGerrigle, who opted to play for his club, Donemana, rather than his country. John Davy came into the side for McGerrigle and took two of the first three wickets, and Cooke, on his 24th birthday, dismissed Bryant.
Jonty Rhodes, Ireland's guest professional, who scored two eighties in the drawn three-day game in midweek, lasted only six balls, caught at cover for three. Ireland's highest partnership was 41 for the eighth wicket between Cooke (26) and Davy (13) after Wade Wingfield and Tyron Henderson had each taken three wickets to reduce the home side to 78-7. Henderson bowled his 10 overs for just 12 runs and Pat Symcox, the former Test off-spinner and senior player in the squad, took 1-19, the first time he had bowled his full 10 overs on the draw.
Ireland, without Ryan Eagleson, and Ed Joyce - at Derbyshire and Middlesex respectively - and now Smyth are in a sorry state. The final match of the series is at Eglinton today
Report by Philip Boylan for the Sunday Independent There can be no doubt but that events off the field were a contributory factor to Ireland's very modest showing in the penultimate match against the South African Academy side at Waringstown yesterday. Stephen Smyth, who has owned the number three spot in the batting line-up for some time, was banished from the camp "for disciplinary reasons" and will also miss today's sixth and final match against the tourists at Eglinton.
Ronnie Lawlor is certainly earning the honour of being chairman of selectors this year. When he sits down with the committee to choose the squad for the second last match of the season, the bi-annual two-day fixture against the MCC at Lord's on August 5/6, a decision must be made about the immediate future of young pace bowling prospect Dwayne McGerrigle. McGerrigle had asked to be excused from yesterday's squad of 12 on the grounds that he was feeling the effects of the European Colts championship in Belfast this week where Ireland finished runners-up to England. He had intimated that he would not find it a strain to turn out for his club, Donemana, compared to facing top-class opposition like the South Africans. Although advised that playing for his club in the circumstances would not be well received by the selectors, McGerrigle turned out for Donemana against Strabane and is out of today's match.
The match itself was not in keeping with the celebration of the first international in front of a magnificent new clubhouse, with a succession of Irish batsmen making early departures after Angus Dunlop decided to bat. The South Africans were determined to make full use of the hard strip and the pace trio of Dewald Pretorius, Tyron Henderson and Wade Wingfield have by this stage of the tour learned how to work out their opponents. And just in case anyone had any notions of escaping, Test star Pat Symcox was there to tie them down with his off spin, with more of the same from Justin Ontong in reserve.
Gordon Cooke cast a colder eye than most on the visitors bowling and celebrated his 24th birthday (and 40th cap) with the top Irish score of 26 which was modest enough considering that the extra's column assisted Ireland to the tune of 28. The unsettled state of the team seems to have affected even Jonty Rhodes who attempted to lift the sixth ball he received over mid-wicket but instead top edged Wade Wingfield to short mid-off where James Bryant was waiting gratefully.
A plus from an unsettled week has been the proof offered by Allan Rutherford that he is the best wicket-keeper batsman on the island and John Davy and Greg Molins did their best to defend a meagre 124 Irish total, taking two wickets apiece but in the event only 29.4 overs had passed when the South Africans were home with five wickets to spare.