Consolation, at the back end of the Season, began with this match for the Irish team. Cheltenham and Gloucester had taken over the NatWest Sponsorship of the Trophy for the 2001 Competition. Ireland had not been allowed to p1ay in this as the team was in Toronto when two rounds of the Trophy were played. It was then ordained that, for 2002, the "Minnows" would play off two rounds in 2001, and would know which County would come to them in 2002 if they were successful. The Minnows would play at home in the third round.
For this match at the South Wiltshire C.C. in Salisbury Ireland were able to field a stronger team than that which failed in the "Triple Crown". 12 players were brought. Out went J Mooney, M Gillespie, R McDaid and K McCallan. The latter was unavailable due to teaching duties and Jason Molins took over the Captaincy. Molins, Paul Mooney, Heasley and AC Botha came into the 12. Botha was a South African professional who had played for Griqualand West and had come to Clontarf in 1994 as a 19 year old all rounder. In 2001 he changed clubs to North County. He batted left handed and bowled right arm at a briskish medium. He was the one allowed unqualified Player. E Joyce was eligible to play but was now in the midst of making first class centuries for Middlesex.
The ground, on the outskirts of Salisbury, was large and pretty. The day was warm and sunny with a good smattering of spectators in the afternoon. The pitch had quite a "step" up to the bowling crease at one end. It looked a little green with underlying damp but soon dried and played well. Ireland left out White. The Wiltshire team, who had not done well in the Minor Counties Championship, was entirely amateur.
Ireland won the toss and had a shocking start, five wickets going down for 78. From this losing position Joyce and Gillespie put on 125 which entirely turned the match. The tail added a further 44 and Ireland were confident that this was enough - particularly when Wiltshire were 87 for five.
The opening bowlers, Gibbens and Bedbrook bowled medium pace and each took two wickets and the score was only 51 in 13 overs. Patterson began with two fours in the first over but, in the fifth over, he fell over and was out to a very good leg side stumping. 17-1-9. Three overs later Davy was out. A flaw in his technique leads him to swing too hard at long-hops and to hook upwards. His mishit was caught by the bowler. 25-2-3. Botha was out first ball. It cut back and he was lbw. The Umpire made a slow decision and there was a suspicion that he snicked it. 25-3-0.
Joyce joined Molins and saw very little of the strike (nine balls) in the stand of 26 in just under six overs. Molins had opened up and hit two fours and then a six over square leg off Bedbrook. He was out in the next over. He tried to drive to leg, across the line and with his head up. He got an inside edge and played on. 51-4-23. Heasley joined Joyce but was not comfortable. In five overs 27 were put on. Medium pacer Marsh came on as did slow left armer Draper. Heasley hit the latter for a straight six in his first over but was out in Marsh's next over. He played one slash too many and skied to deep cover. 78-5-11.
This was the nadir of Ireland's innings with Gillespie joining Joyce (who was then 17) in the 22nd over. They played carefully at first, the score being 86 in 25 overs. Then Gillespie hit two fours off Draper and 100 was up in over 29. Scoring became a little more brisk and by the second drinks interval (35 overs) 129 was on the board and a fifth bowler, RJ Bates, had come on. Draper changed ends and now the runs began to flow. Five fours were hit in the next five overs. In the 39th over Joyce reached 50 in 83 balls and at the end of 40 overs 170 was up - 41 runs in the last five, and 12 off the 40th over.
This rate went up a further notch. Six in the 41st over, seven in the 42nd when Gillespie reached his 50 in only 64 balls. The 43rd and 44th overs yielded nine each, the 200 coming in the 44th. This great stand (125) ended with the first ball of the 45th over. Gillespie hit hard back to the bowler (Bates ). 203-6-66. Gillespie hit nine fours in his 77 balls in a typical innings. Mooney did not let the rate slip and took 2-4-1 off his first three balls with eight off the over.
Draper had now bowled his 10 overs for 61 and opening bowler Bedbrook, returned with three overs left for him. The 46th over cost seven and Joyce fell to Bates off the second last ball of the 47th over - also caught and bowled. He was not at the pitch of the ball and skied it. 222-7-67. Joyce hit seven fours in 107 balls. Neither he nor Gillespie gave a chance and both played equally well under the pressure situation in which they started.
12 came in the 48th over with both Mooney and Armstrong hitting fours. Mooney hit three fours in his 15 ball cameo innings of 23 and was out, bowled round his legs, with nine balls to go. 240-8-23. Those nine balls brought seven runs and the last two wickets fell to run outs, McCoubrey off the last ball of the 50th over.
Wiltshire kept their bowlers on in long stints. Gibbens, Marsh and Bates all bowled their 10 overs without a break. Gibbens was the most successful, two for 27. All the rest gave up 35 or more, Bates going for 58 and Draper 61.
Wiltshire began with Rowe and Draper and in 11.1 overs from Mooney and McCoubrey four were out for 41. Draper was lbw in Mooney's second over when he walked across his wicket. In Mooney's next over Rowe followed a lifter and was caught at the wicket. McCoubrey joined in the wicket taking in the next over when Marsh suffered a similar fate as Rowe - a poor shot but Patterson had to dive to his left. In the next six overs 26 runs came due to four fours by Goode and one by Taylor. Botha came on for Mooney (two for 20 in five overs). With the first ball of his sixth over Taylor was caught at third slip by Heasley off McCoubrey. It was good captaincy to maintain the slip field despite the boundary hits. 41-4-4.
Perrin was known to be Wiltshire's best batsman. He joined Goode in the 12th over. Botha, bowled three overs for 16 and McCoubrey came off after seven overs (two for 14). 50 had come up in 14 overs. Armstrong came on as did McGonigle. The latter took a wicket with his third ball in the 17th over. He bowled the left handed Goode on the drive. 54-5-29 (five fours). Coxon was next. He hit two fours and 23 were put on in five overs. Then Armstrong yorked Coxon in the 22nd over. 87-6-12.
RJ Bates was next and there ensued the best stand of the innings - 36 in eight overs. Bates hit three fours and Perrin was playing carefully yet scoring off most balls he faced. 100 came in the 25th over. Botha replaced Armstrong and in the third over of his return (the 30th) Perrin lost patience, had a swing at Botha and was bowled. 123-7-34 (47 balls). PR Bates now joined RJ Bates. In the 36th over (Botha) there was a possible chance to Armstrong at mid-on. If it was so Armstrong made up for it two overs later (Botha's last). RJ Bates called a run to mid-off but Armstrong's throw to the bowler achieved a run out. 148-8-19.
Mooney retuned for McGonigle (one for 23 in 10) and bowled PR Bates who ran down the pitch and was bowled. 153-9-18. Nine runs later, in the 41st over, Mooney took his fourth wicket when Bedbrook skied to the wicket-keeper. The five Irish bowlers all took at least one wicket. Mooney had four for 34 in 7.2 overs. McCoubrey had two for 20 in eight and McGonigle one for 23 in 10. Botha's 10 overs were expensive at 50 but he took the important wicket of Perrin.
Joe Hardstaff, President of Wiltshire C.C. and former Secretary of Middlesex, gave the Man-of-the-Match Award (£300) to Gillespie. It was a difficult choice between Gillespie and Joyce.
This win set up a second round match with the Hampshire Board Xl at the new Hampshire County Ground at West End in Southampton in 15 days time.