This first Tournament match was a great disappointment. The day was very hot and sunny. The pitch was hard and true. The supporters, some 40 of them, arrived in the afternoon in time to see USA get 210 to win in 37.5 overs. McCallan was ill and could not play so Curry became Captain. McCoubrey and Davy were left out. Mark Patterson was not due to play but came in for McCallan.
The way the match was played by the two teams is best shown by what happened in the fielding restricted starting 15 overs of each innings. Ireland made 53, the USA 99! Ireland won the toss and batted. All went well for a long time. After 27 overs the score was 104 for two - a rate of four per over. A score of 250 seemed possible but the innings subsided and only 105 more runs were scored. Another contrast was Ireland's tally of 12 boundaries in 50 overs to USA's 34 in 38 overs. Ireland's batsmen patted the ball about - the USA hit it.
Molins and White opened to the bowling of the tall swift Blake and medium paced Ajaz. Molins hit three fours in the first 10 overs when the score was 34. In the 11th over White (11) was dropped in the gully. Nasser (medium) and Zinto (slow left arm) were tried. 50 was up in over 15 but in the next over (Naseer) Molins hit a waist high full toss straight to square leg. 58-1-21. Ed Joyce came in. He made 80 off 87 balls, lost six partners and 137 runs were made while he batted but he could only hit three fours in his 30 overs at the wicket. Staple, the Captain, bowled one over to allow a change of ends. White snicked two fours but was out next over (21st) when he was stumped off Naseer trying to push on the leg side. 83-2-43. White had played well and his four fours were the most in the innings.
Dominick Joyce joined his brother. He saw 100 up in over 27 and was playing well. An off spinner, Nazir Javed, came on and in his second over D Joyce was caught at long on who did not have to move for the catch. 108-3-12. Curry was dropped at short mid-wicket when he was one. He did not profit. Another off spinner, Rashid, had him caught at cover in the next over - a dreadful shot. 127-4-3. A Patterson came in and the second best stand of the innings (36) ensued. These runs came in eight overs with Joyce scoring 27 of them. Patterson gave a stumping chance in the 34th over. Nine runs came in the 36th over, the 37th was a maiden (Zinto), and 10 came in the 38th to bring up 150. Was this the needed increase in scoring rate? Sadly, no! In over 39 Patterson was run out. He called a run to mid-off which was never on. He was rightly sent back and was run out. 163-5-9.
With Mooney in the 40 over score was 167. Only 42 more runs were scored in the remaining 9.2 overs and only one boundary was hit. Mooney's stand with Joyce put on 21 before Mooney was caught at the wicket in over 44. 184-6-8. For the next over opening bowler Blake returned and Heasley played on. 191-7-4. In fact three wickets fell in three overs, the third being the now very tired Ed Joyce. The medium paced Naseer returned and in his first over (46th) Joyce was caught at the wicket trying to run a ball down to third man. 195-8-80.
In the 49th over Mark Patterson hit a four over the wicket keeper; Eagleson gave a caught and bowled chance; Patterson was stumped. Finally, in the last over, Eagleson hit a full pitch to deep square leg. It was a sorry procession after a good start.
Of the USA's seven bowlers Naseer had the best figures, four for 32 in 9.2 overs but the quality of the USA's bowling was not such as to dismiss Ireland for 209. The opening overs of the USA innings were full of incidents. There was only a leg bye in Eagleson's first over. Then Mooney, bowling far too short, went for 19 in his. There was a four off a no-ball, a wide, another four, a difficult chance to Dwyer diving forward at slip, two leg byes, and then a six - all these involving Wallace except the catch which Alexander offered. In the next over Wallace was run out. Ed Joyce made a great stop at gully. Wallace had set off but was sent back and run out. 22-1-14.
The new comer, left handed Johnson, was missed by White at extra cover, again a difficult chance far to White's left. Mark Patterson bowled three successive wides in his second over (Mooney was only allowed one!). Then came 10 fours in five overs, eight of them to Johnson mostly off White (two overs for 17) and Curry (one over for 14). 50 came up in the 9th over and the score was 69 after 10. Eagleson came back and bowled a maiden to Alexander and in his next over (14th) he had Alexander caught at the wicket. 90-2-16. There were 13 extras and by this time Johnson, carving at everything, was 47 off 34 balls, 44 of them in fours.
The incidents were not over! In his next over (16th) Eagleson took another wicket. Mark Patterson dropped a dolly catch at long-on off Johnson but the very next ball Johnson popped in the air. Eagleson raced up the pitch to catch it. 101-3-54. Johnson had by then hit 12 fours and faced 45 balls. Bacchus, ex West Indies and now aged 47, joined his Captain Staple. Fours continued apace and no bowler could stop them. At the 25 over mark the score was 141. White came back for one over (27th) and Bacchus hit him for two sixes and two fours and the score moved from 145 to 166 in that over.
Patterson came back and took the fourth wicket. He bowled Bacchus who was half forward. 185-4-44. Bacchus got 36 in boundaries. With Rashid joining Staple the end soon came but not before Dwyer dropped a caught and bowled chance from Staple at 192. 99 had come in 15 overs, 150 in 27 and now 202 in 37. Two fours to Rashid off Patterson finished the match in the 38th over. Eagleson bowled nine overs and took two for 34. Patterson, in one ball under nine overs, took one for 36 and Heasley's six overs cost 22. It was a crushing defeat but it did look that, on the day, Ireland needed 270 plus taking the half chances.
The match -v- U.S.A at the Kuala Lumpur Tournament in 1997 was won in a thrilling finish by Ireland. There were three survivors on each team, Curry, Eagleson and Mark Patterson played for Ireland and USA had Bacchus (who was the Captain), Ajaz Ali and Naseer Islam.