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Match Report
Derek Scott

European Cup regulations required a panel of 25 players to be chosen and vetted in advance. The playing party of 14 would be selected from this 25. The new party of 25 differed very little from that chosen in the Spring.

Leinster Cricket Union (9) JAM Molins, GL Molins, CM Armstrong, D Armstrong, PJ Davy, DI Joyce, PJK Mooney, JF Mooney, NJ O'Brien. There were three sets of brothers. GL Molins, not available for winter training, was restored and G Black, his replacement, was discarded. A. Botha, not qualified to play for Ireland in the European Cup, was injured but might have been listed if fit.

Northern Cricket Union (8) JA Bushe, Ryan Haire, D Kennedy, WK McCallan, AGAM McCoubrey, AD Patterson, P. Tate, AR White. Ryan Haire, not available for winter training, was restored but I.P. Shields was still not available.

North West Cricket Union ( 8 ) PG Gillespie, D Heasley, RW McDaid, WJ McGonigle, GJ Neely, W Porterfield, A Riddles, J Thompson. Curry was still unfit. Mark Gillespie had played for Club rather than Province on an Interprovincial date and was dropped. RW McDaid, who did not turn up for winter training, was restored.

In this 25 there are seven uncapped players. D Armstrong and NJ O'Brien (wicket-keepers), D Kennedy, W Porterfield and A Riddles (batsmen) P Tate and J Thompson (bowlers). The squad for the European Cup would be 14 players. Ireland decided on 13 with a substitute standing by but not travelling. 10 of the 13 had played -v- West Indies "A". They were JAM Molins, AR White, PJ Davy, DI Joyce, WK McCallan, PG Gillespie, D Heasley, PJK Mooney, WJ McGonigle, and GJ Neely. The other three were CM Armstrong (capped in 2001), AGAM McCoubrey (now fit again) and twenty year old Niall O'Brien a wicket-keeper/batsman from Railway Union and son of former International BA O'Brien. AD Patterson was dropped as wicket-keeper to allow NJ O'Brien to be Ireland's 638th International cricketer. As there is no other wicket-keeper in the party of 13 it must be assumed that the stand by substitute is a wicket- keeper.

The first match should have been -v- Scotland but rain prevented any play in the six matches scheduled for this day - all matches to be played on the "Rain day", Sunday, July 21st. Ireland owed Denmark a defeat after Ireland's failure to them in the ICC Trophy in Canada. This was handsomely achieved. Ireland were forced to call up a 14th player (RW McDaid) as cover for opening bowlers, McCoubrey and Mooney both of whom were not entirely fit. Mooney played but McCoubrey did not. Also left out were McDaid and McGonigle, so CM Armstrong played his first match in 2002. Niall O'Brien made his debut as a wicket-keeper/batsman from Railway Union. Aged 20 he was the first new cap out of the Club since 1981.

Stormont looked very well on a sunny but chilly day. The groundstaff did great work to make the Ground playable. The pitch was dry but slow and played well. The start was delayed for 30 minutes. Denmark sent Ireland in which did not seem a good idea and a worse idea when Molins and White put on 82 for the first wicket in the 20th over. The unrelated Hansens started for Denmark. Thomas (left arm over) and Henrik (right arm medium fast). When Molins got to 10 in the fourth over he had reached 1000 runs in his 40th match and 41 innings. When 14 at 22 he gave a difficult chance to the only slip off H Hansen - it was low and to the left to Ahmed. Molins put away the odd short ball and half volley.

In the 10th over, at 40, Molins (27) was again dropped by Ahmed at slip - this time very simple and again off Henrik Hansen. In the 13th over Molins brought up 50 (70 balls) with a lofted drive - his 4th four. In the 13 overs Molins had faced 54 balls to White's 25. The two Hedegaards now came on, both medium pace seamers. Their four overs gave up 21 including three fours to Molins and a near run out when Molins called a short run to mid-off.

Spin appeared for the 18th over, Chawla (leg spin) followed by Farooq (slow left arm). The slip was gone. In Chawla's second over (20th) Molins advanced, missed and was stumped for 57 out of 82 with 7 x 4. He had faced 85 balls to White's 34 and the latter had by then scored 17. Joyce came in and he and White milked the spinners aided by very fast running and good footwork. 100 was up in over 24. In 12 overs 69 runs were put on and only 31 balls were not scored off.

The Hedegaards came back after 29 overs. A hook for four brought White to 51 (68 balls) in over 31 after which over the score was 151. In the next over (Morten Hedegaard) Joyce picked out Siddiq at long-on who did not have to move to take the catch. 151-2-31. Joyce faced 34 balls.

Davy was next. The first maiden of the innings was the 34th (Morten Hedegaard) and in it White (59) appeared to be dropped by the wicket-keeper. In the 37th over Davy hit a pick up six to mid-wicket but lost White in the next over. White chased a wide ball with no foot movement and was caught at the wicket. 183-3-70 (93 balls). White had played very well in this his 19th innings. He scored a century in his 3rd innings and a fifty in his 6th but no fifty since then. Gillespie came in, took a single but Davy was out to the last ball of the same over as White was out. Lars Hedegaard bowled Davy who rushed down the pitch, had a cross batted heave, and missed. 186-4-16.

McCallan came in and scored briskly but was left behind by Gillespie. In just over six overs 53 were put on of which Gillespie made 39. Farooq came back and gave up 22 in three overs. The 42nd over (Lars Hedegaard) cost 15 with Gillespie hitting a six to mid-wicket and then a four off successive balls. The next over gave up 12 with another four to Gillespie. Then Henrik Hansen came back and got both batsmen in one over, 2nd ball and 4th. McCallan's leg glance was caught by the wicket-keeper. 239-5-12. Gillespie skied to extra cover. 240-6-40. Gillespie's 40 in 26 balls (a six and 4 x 4) was just what was required. He failed to score off only six balls and gave great impetus to the final 10 overs.

Mooney arrived and made six in four balls. His impetuous running was his downfall attempting a two to third man. 247-7-6. One over later Armstrong was also run out but he was unfortunate. It was a direct hit from deep mid wicket on a second run. 255-8-4. O'Brien, the 638th Irish cap, joined Heasley. 14 were put on in 16 balls, O'Brien getting off the mark with his first ball. Heasley hit a leg side four off the first ball of the 49th over (Henrik Hansen) was dropped at deep mid wicket (Ahmed again) off the fifth ball and was bowled by the sixth ball. 271-9-13. O'Brien and Neely scampered 10 off the last over (Morten Hedegaard).

281 was a fine score on a rather slow damp outfield, 89 coming in the last 10 overs. White, Joyce and Gillespie scored 108 from over 20 to over 40. Denmark used six bowlers. The best was Thomas Hansen, seven overs at the start for 23. It was surprising that he was not brought back for his remaining three.

In reply it was only after over 40 that Denmark got beyond three runs per over and by that time seven wickets were down. Pedersen and Klokker started carefully to Mooney and Neely. The first ball of Neely's second over yorked Klokker. 9-1-5. Lars Hedegaard was number three. He miscued Neely over cover's head while playing to leg. In Neely's fifth over he clipped to leg where Gillespie took a fast low catch at square leg. 25-2-10. Lund arrived, took a single, and saw Pedersen wave his bat at the fifth ball to give O'Brien his first International catch. 26-3-8.

Ahmed arrived to join Lund and he had often given Ireland trouble in the past. Mooney bowled seven overs very well (14 runs) but it was Neely who took the wickets (three for 23 in seven). Armstrong and Heasley bowled next. 50 came up after 16 overs. Lund was next to go in over 22. He pulled a Heasley full toss and Molins, at square leg, dived to his right for a one handed catch. 66-4-19. Siddiq joined Ahmed and for eight overs the scoring was almost entirely in singles with the exception of a six hoisted by Ahmed off Heasley in the 30th over. Meanwhile White had come on to bowl the 27th over. In the 31st Ahmed snicked him to O'Brien. 96-5-36. Denmark's captain, Morten Hedegaard, was next. 100 was up after 33 overs. The newcomer hit White for a four in the 34th over. Three balls later he was out to a stunning catch by Neely running to his right at wide long-on. 104-6-6. McCallan had now replaced Heasley and started with two maidens. Then White took another wicket with the first ball of his sixth over. Siddiq (13 off 54 balls) was caught by Mooney at deep mid-wicket. 111-7-13.

14 overs remained to be bowled when Farooq joined Thomas Hansen. 171 runs were required. The game was over but Ireland did not take another wicket. The eighth pair put on 72 in 83 balls, Hansen 44, Farooq 28. White bowled out his 10 overs (three for 35). McCallan bowled eight for 27. Armstrong and Neely bowled the last four, and an average of five runs per over was taken off all of them. At the end Denmark were 98 behind.

Of Ireland's six bowlers Neely and White had three wickets each and only Armstrong was expensive (42 runs in eight overs). The fielding and catching was very good.

Stormont, Belfast