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Match Report
Derek Scott

This match marked the start of the two month tour by West Indies "A" to Ireland, England and Canada. Their party had three rejects from Test Cricket. They were batsman and Captain Ganga and the two fast bowlers King and Black. The rest were young players although Ganga was only 23. The Manager was Joel Garner (58 Tests) and the Coach was Gus Logie (52 Tests). The tour should have begun in Eglinton the previous Wednesday but Northern Ireland had been suffering very heavy rain for weeks and the ground was unplayable. An unofficial match was quickly arranged in Malahide on the Thursday. Again rain interfered after West Indies "A" made 220 all out in 46.2 overs. Morton made 116, Bravo 29 and Simmons 28 but these were the only double figures. Without Morton's century they would have been in trouble.

Two Irish players who would have played at Eglinton and would play at Rathmines on Friday were not available for Thursday's unofficial match. They were JAM Molins and D Heasley. They were replaced by D. Kennedy (an uncapped batsman from Ballymena) and CM Armstrong of North County. McCallan captained Thursday's team. Dominick Joyce was now available (after exams) for the Rathmines match and he replaced the still injured McCoubrey. This gave the team a more balanced look with a batsman replacing a bowler. There were still six bowlers in the team.

The day was dark and damp. It was a great tribute to Leinster's ground staff that the ground was fit after heavy rain the previous day and deep into the night. Some people had remained at the ground all night. The pitch, naturally, was slow. West Indies 'A' (W.I.) won the toss and decided to bat which was a surprise as they had batted the previous day.

Ganga from Trinidad and Smith from Grenada opened at 11.00 a.m. to the bowling of Mooney and Neely. After three overs the score was 26! Ganga hit two fours and in Mooney's second over Smith hit a four and then a six over wide mid-wicket on the rather narrow Rathmines ground. Heasley replaced Mooney after the latter's two over stint (16 runs) but runs continued to flow. Three more fours were hit and eight wides had been bowled by the time the first wicket fell after 6.5 overs. It was Heasley's second over and he had bowled three wides in it, but Smith spooned the last ball to White at mid-on. 46-1-22.

In came Pagon from Jamaica to join his captain. In 28 overs 129 runs were put on. The rate was about four runs per over at the start but 50 was up in 10 overs (this from the fast start) and, with increasing pace by the new pair, 101 in 19 overs. The slow bowlers, McGonigle (17th over) and McCallan (20th over) did slow the pace to about four an over. From over 20 to over 30 only two fours were struck. Both of these bowlers bowled only seven overs each in this stint which was a surprise. Ganga reached 50 from 86 balls in over 21 and in over 30 he hit a six off McCallan into the road over long-on.

150 was up in over 32. Then came a surprise. White bowling his third over to Ganga (86) bowled a wicket maiden! His last ball was a low caught and bowled. 175-2-86. In 111 balls Ganga hit a six and 10 fours. Pagan had reached 50 in 99 balls just before Ganga was out. Pagon now joined by Bravo from Trinidad. Two White overs later Pagan met the same fate as Ganga. This time White accepted a sharp high caught and bowled. 191-3-62. Hibbert from Jamaica was next and was celebrating a 22nd birthday (Ireland's Joyce was celebrating his 21st).

200 was up in over 41. Bravo now changed gear. In successive White overs he hit two sixes both to mid-wicket. In his next and eighth over White evened the score. Gillespie brought off a great boundary catch running far to his right at long-off and making the catch in front of the screen. 229-4-35. Morton, yesterday's century maker from the island of Nevis, came in at number six. Heasley had come back at the Mountpleasant end and his first ball saw Patterson effect a very quick stumping to dismiss Hibbert. 247-5-10.

Simmons, a nephew of the Test player from Trinidad, was next but the over, by Heasley, yielded only five and 250 was up. Neely bowled the 49th over. It yielded six runs and a wicket. Simmons hit the ball back to Neely at shoulder height. 252-6-1. Off the last 8 balls (Neely and Heasley) Morton and Benn (Barbados) gathered 16 runs so the final score was 268 for six. Ireland used six bowlers of whom only Neely (47 runs) and McCallan (46 runs) bowled the full stint of ten. White was the most successful, three for 49, in nine overs. Mooney bowled his five overs within the first 18 bowled. He gave up 35 runs and was not recalled. Ireland's catching and ground fielding was good. In the batting department Ireland were never in the hunt. In 15 overs the cream of the batting was gone (58 for four) and it was left to Gillespie (not for the first time) to play a gem of an innings in a lost cause. He scored 88 off 105 balls and was unfortunate not to reach his first International century as he was when scoring 94 -v- Bangladesh at Waringstown in 1998.

The two West Indies Test discarded fast bowlers, King and Black, were much faster than anything we see in Ireland. White gently directed the seventh ball he faced to second slip off Black. 14-1-0. Joyce arrived at number three to find a third slip in place!

Molins had his usual swift start, four fours all off King in his 19 runs. He flattered to deceive. At 26 he was not at the pitch of the ball when driving at King and was caught at short extra cover. King retired after five overs and one wicket. Powell, fast medium, came on and had Joyce LBW in his first over to a straight ball to which Joyce went too far across. 27-3-3. Davy was joined by Gillespie. The former, in the over after Joyce was out, hit Black for a six and. a four. Gillespie started with two fours. The 15th over cost 11 and at the end of it the score was 58. In this over Davy got a five from a boundary overthrow.

For the 16th over Benn (slow left arm) replaced Black. Davy attempted to sweep Benn's first ball and was bowled around his legs. 58-4-18. McCallan joined Gillespie and this pair had the longest stand of the innings measured in balls. They put on 35 in 74 balls with Powell and Benn doing all the bowling. 85 was up in 25 overs which score was about two runs short per over of the required rate. In the 28th over (Benn's seventh) McCallan drove at a ball which was too wide to drive and was caught at slip. 93-5-20.

Patterson was gone in Benn's next over. 100 had arrived in Powell's previous over (29th) when both batsmen hit boundaries. Patterson then lunged forward and was caught at slip. 105-6-5. Heasley came next and, out of character, scored one run off 15 balls. Ganga (off breaks) had replaced Powell. In his second over Heasley failed to get to the pitch of the ball and was caught and bowled low down. 110-7-1. This was the 33rd over and at this point Gillespie was 33 off 58 balls. 159 more were required in 17 overs when Mooney came in. They had the highest stand of the innings, 41 in 50 balls. Of these Gillespie scored 28 off 25 balls.

King came back for Benn (three for 24. in his 10 overs). In King's third over Gillespie hit a four to bring up his eighth 50 for Ireland off 79 balls. Bravo had replaced Ganga and his second over brought a six and a wicket. The six was hit over long off by Gillespie. The wicket was Mooney who was bowled. 151-8-10. Neely came in and showed that he could bat in a stand of 31 off 40 balls, of which Neely made three. Meanwhile Gillespie went in search of his century. In the 43rd over he hooked a no-ball from Bravo for a six over square leg. By the end of the over he was 70.

By the end of King's next and last over Gillespie was 80. With three overs to go Gillespie stood at 88. Black had come back to replace King. The first ball of the 48th over (Black) saw Gillespie dismissed. It was a long hop but Gillespie mistimed his pull and was caught at deep square leg. His 88 was from 105 balls with 2x6 and 8x4. 187-9-88.

The end came in the last over when Black bowled McGonigle. Ireland could never reach the required run rate nor could the leading batsmen put partnerships together. All six West Indies bowlers took at least one wicket. Black and Benn took three each and conceded only just over two runs per over.

Henderson Wallace, the Phoenix professional from Barbados, made Gillespie Man-of-the-Match. The Match was sponsored by Anglo Irish Bank.

Rathmines, Dublin