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Ireland International Matches Database
Match Report
Derek Scott

This match, won very easily, was the first of a tour in which four limited overs matches were played in four days.

Ireland selected a panel of 14 to travel. They were JAM Molins (Capt.), CM Armstrong; AC Botha, JP Bray, JA Bushe (to keep wicket in last three matches), RT Coetzee, PG Gillespie, WK McCallan, JF Mooney, PJK Mooney, NJ O'Brien (to play and keep wicket in first match only due to Kent CCC duties), WB Rankin, J Thompson and AR White. After selection O'Brien broke a thumb playing for Kent Second XI and was not replaced. Thompson, who would have gained his first cap, was injured and was replaced by RL Eagleson whose 57th and last previous cap was in Toronto in 2001. Armstrong cried off the day before travel due to his Grandmother's death. EJG Morgan, aged 16, and contracted to Middlesex was asked to join the party which he could do for the third and fourth matches. Should he play he would be the youngest ever, 16 years and 344 days if he plays -v- Free Foresters on Wednesday, and the first ever under 17 to play for Ireland. The previous youngest was DN Trotter, capped in 1875, aged 17 years and 91 days. The most recently capped 17 year old was G Graham, 17 years and 328 days when getting his sole cap in 1954. DI Joyce was not considered due to a back injury. GJ Neely had played in all seven matches of 2003, and had taken 11 wickets for 248 runs, but was dropped.

The last time Ireland played at Arundel (2001) they lost. This time the match lasted 45.5 overs. Norfolk's XI made only 61 and Ireland won by seven wickets at 3.30 p.m., the match having started at 11.30 a.m.

At the start Ireland had only 12 players and left out Rankin, a 19 year old, whose first cap this would have been. There was nostalgia for three players, Molins, Eagleson and Gillespie who all made their debuts together in this match in 1995. Eagleson now seemed fully recovered from his back injury of 2001 and took a wicket with his first ball and another in his fourth over.

The Norfolk team had four ex-County players. Pierce, House and Strong were from Sussex and Church from Worcester. In truth they made a sorry mess of batting. The best stand was 19 for the ninth wicket and the innings lasted 29.4 overs. Strangely, lunch was taken at 1.30 p.m. after two hours play and 28 overs when the score was 55 for eight.

The day was warm but mostly overcast with, later on, some chance of rain which did not come. The pitch was a vivid green following a heat-wave but Norfolk decided to bat on winning the toss. P Mooney's first over to Pierce and House (both left handers) went for five runs. Then House mis-hooked a long hop from Eagleson's first ball. It went high to backward square leg. Bushe, in his first match since 2000, gave chase and caught it thirty yards from the wicket. 5-1-5. Church played a languid shot in Mooney's second over and was bowled. 7-2-0. Lewis came in and he it was who played the longest innings - 54 balls for 10 and was seventh out.

As is quite usual in a collapse there was a run out for the next wicket to fall. Pierce played Mooney to deep mid-off for an easy single. The ball was not cleanly collected by McCallan so Lewis called a second run. McCallan threw at the bowler's wicket and Lewis would have been run out. The ball missed the stumps but, continuing on, hit the striker's wicket. As Pierce was not expecting the second run call he was run out. 18-3-8.

Eagleson took his second wicket in the next over (eighth) when Debenham, another left hander, was lbw playing forward. 20-4-0. Creed was number six. Seven runs were added when he played a loose shot at Mooney and was bowled. 27-5-5. Botha replaced Eagleson (two for 10 in six overs). He posted two slips and emulated Eagleson by taking a wicket with his first ball. Atkins (the number seven) drove to extra cover where White took a good low catch. 32-6-3. The newcomer, Semmence, was dropped by Bushe in Botha's second over, when one and the score 35. It was a diving leg side chance that Bushe would usually take. The reprieved Semmence went on to make 16 not out, the highest individual score by six runs!

Lewis was next to go. In Botha's third over he played no stroke to a straight ball and was bowled. 39-7-10. In his next over Botha posted three slips and a gully and it was the gully (Bray) who caught Strong, another left hander. 41-8-0. Kemp joined Semmence and John Mooney came on for his brother who had bowled his 10 overs and taken three for 22. Semmence cover drove two fours in John Mooney's first over which was 50% of the fours hit in the innings. A wide brought up 50 in this over (the 21st). No further wickets fell in the remaining seven overs before lunch. McCallan bowled the last over before lunch replacing Botha (two for six in seven overs) and Kemp gave Molins an unaccepted slip chance. The lunch score was 58 for eight, Semmence 16, Kemp 2, after 28 overs. 10 balls were sufficient after lunch to wind up the innings. The second ball from John Mooney moved away and Kemp was caught by Bushe, from a defensive stroke. 60-9-2. McCallan's fourth ball had Kotkamp lunging and he was caught at slip by Molins. 61 was the lowest score made against Ireland in a limited overs match - previous lowest was 74 by Italy at Ayr in Scotland in the 2000 European Championship, All five Irish bowlers took at least one wicket.

Ireland made quick work (16.1 overs) of getting the runs, but did lose three wickets. The first 11 overs were bowled by Strong and Kotkamp at a lively pace. In these overs Bray hit three fours and Molins hit four - three of them in Strong's fifth and last over, a back foot drive, a pull and a snick. Creed came on but Kotkamp, in his seventh over, got Molins. The ball "stopped" and was lobbed back to the bowler. 46-1-24. At 48 Bray was lbw to the new bowler, Creed - a good decision, the ball going from pad to bat. 48-2-18.

White took a single but Botha was out next ball. He was bowled pushing forward giving Creed two wickets in the over. 49-3-2. White and Gillespie scored 16 runs off 15 balls, each hitting a four. One of them, a snick by White, won the match.

There was no sponsor for this match so, in order to play on this most beautiful ground, Ireland agreed to pay part of the match expenses.