This April Tournament in Harare, Zimbabwe was the first such that Ireland participated in. It was under ICC auspices and expenses were paid for by ICC. The other five teams were Holland, Denmark, Scotland, Kenya and Zimbabwe 'A'. Each team could bring 14 players.
Ireland chose eight from Leinster, four from Northern and two from North West. One of the latter was to be JD Curry (whose differences with Irish Cricket Union had been resolved) but he cried off and PG Gillespie, also North West, came in. Doak (playing again), McGerrigle and McCoubrey were not available. Eagleson and Mark Patterson were not chosen due to their being contracted to Counties and unavailable for the rest of the Season. Two specialist wicket-keepers were chosen, Rutherford and Bushe, which was a surprise with AD Patterson available. Butler had not played since 1996 and Heasley not since 1998. Dwyer had thankfully come out of retirement.
A practice match was played two days before the first competitive match. It was at the Country Club which is now the home of the Zimbabwe Cricket Academy who provided the opposition. Philip Boylan, Irish Independent journalist, was one of the umpires. The match was 40 overs each. Ireland won the toss and batted to score 250 for six. Molins was out for 50 after an 82 run opening stand with Archer (35). PJ Davy made 60 and then retired. Joyce got 21 and McCallan 30. The Academy were 190 for nine at the end. Delport made 52 and Sims, at No. eight, got 34 not out. Dwyer dominated the bowling, four for 26 in his eight overs. Heasley was also inexpensive. Bushe, Butler and Dunlop were left out, the latter having a slight leg strain. Rutherford was Captain.
The first match was a great day for Ireland because the sequence of 10 defeats -v- Scotland in limited overs matches came to an end albeit by use of the Duckworth/Lewis system following rain. The rain wiped off the last 11.4 overs and left Ireland 13 runs ahead on the system calculated on Ireland having lost only three wickets.
The stars were Heasley with the ball and a fine third wicket stand by PJ Davy and Joyce. The pitch had been newly laid six months before. Such is the climate in Zimbabwe that the pitch had settled well. It was very hard, devoid of' visible grass and had cracks throughout its length.
Ireland left out JO Davy, Gillespie and Rutherford. The Scots were reputed to have sent a young untried team but eight had played against Ireland in 1999. Brinkley was also well known. So only Duncan and Cox were new.
At 9.30 a.m. Scotland won the toss and then sent Williamson and Macrae to face Butler and McCallan (fast and slow). Only two men were allowed outside the inner circle for the first 15 overs. Butler started with four wides and a no-ball in two overs, but at good pace. Scoring rate was steady. In the seventh over at 26, Macrae gave wicket-keeper Bushe a difficult leg side diving chance off Butler. Next ball, from McCallan, Williamson hit a six just too high for Davy at long-on. In his sixth and final over of his first spell Butler had Williamson LBW with a ball which kept extremely low. 45-1-27. In the next over from McCallan Dunlop dropped a straight catch at slip offered by Macrae. Macrae was 11 and went on to make 37.
With Lockhart in Dwyer came on to partner Cooke for the 18th over at 61, the first maiden having been bowled the over before by Cooke. Heasley came on for Cooke for the 25th over after which the total was 91. Dwyer and Heasley stemmed the rate, Dwyer bowling a seven over spell for 26. 100 was up in over 27. Then Heasley took wickets in his third and fourth overs. At 109 Lockhart was LBW and at 116 Macrae was caught at the wicket. Parson (left hand) and Salmond were now in and McCallan returned for two expensive overs (14 runs) to complete his 10 overs. Surprisingly Heasley came off after seven overs for 24. Archer was now bowling and Cooke came back for two overs which cost 18, Parsons hitting three fours off him. He also hit Archer for six so that by over 40 the score was 168 for three. Some temporary relief was at hand. In over 42 Parsons nibbled at Archer and was caught at the wicket. 184-4-39. Smith was out bowled in Archer's next over, swinging wildly. 190-5-2. Salmond, scoring off most balls, went to 50 off 48 balls. 13 had come off Archer's sixth and last over bringing up 200 in over 45.
Dwyer came back for the 48th over at 218. The over yielded eight runs but Salmond was out for 55, skying to Bushe whose third catch it was. 225-6-55. Butler was completing his spell at the other end and he had Brinkley caught by Davy at long on. 233-7-1. The last over, by Dwyer, was hit for 15, 14 of them to Wright including a six. 248 was a formidable total. Heasley was easily the best bowler with Butler and McCallan also doing well.
Molins and Archer started for Ireland. Neither lasted long. The speedy Brinkley got both. In his second over he comprehensively bowled Molins. 8-1-8. In his fourth over Archer nibbled and was caught at the wicket. 14-2-4. There then began what proved to be a match winning stand between Davy and Joyce. Joyce began with two fours off Brinkley. Joyce, in eight overs, faced 12 balls as Davy monopolised the strike. After a life early on he made good use of it, hitting four fours and a six to wide long-on in his first 30 runs. 50 was up in over 16. It was now Joyce's turn to keep strike. He hit Wright for 10 in one over and, later on, he took 13 off Williamson. This was the 25th over. The score was 113, Davy 38, Joyce 47. Rain was looming but on the Duckworth/Lewis system Ireland were 18 ahead and there was now a match as 25 overs had been completed.
Davy took up the scoring again. He hit Maiden for a six and a four and then both went to 50 in over 29, Davy off 85 balls, Joyce off 53. Joyce fell to the left hander, Parsons in the 31st over, mishitting to mid-off. 133-3-59 (seven fours). Ireland were still 4 runs ahead of the rate with Dunlop going in. Eight more balls were bowled and 11 runs scored when rain ended the match. The official winning margin was 13 runs. Davy was left 60 not out in 96 balls with two sixes and six fours. Joyce's 50 was his fifth such and, by his own opinion, his best. Cooke fell in the outfield in this match and was concussed. The next match -v- Holland was two days later at Old Georgeans Ground. The pitch was in order but the outfield was dangerous. Both teams, Umpires and Match Referee agreed that the match could not be played in the conditions. Both teams got one point.