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Match Report
Derek Scott

Another win on "the playing fields of Eton". It was at the upper ground of Agar's Plough. The pitch was a minefield in favour of bowlers, particularly spinners. The pitch was hard and bare and may not have been adequately watered in the South of England heatwave.

Ireland were 33 for three but, due to the middle order, got to 172. It was thought to be enough when Free Foresters (FF) were 32 for three but, perhaps, not when they were 91 for three with 21 overs to go. Then John Mooney, White and McCallan took a wicket each and there was a run out. So the score became 108 for seven. Then came a 30 run stand broken by another run out. Now 35 were required from 34 balls but the ninth pair could only get singles against White and a youthful Morgan. The last two wickets fell in the final over bowled by Mooney. The victory margin of 13 runs may look small, but defeat did not loom in those last five overs.

Paul Mooney and Botha were left out to give 16-year-old Morgan (the first 16-year-old to be capped by Ireland), and 6'7" Boyd Rankin of Bready, 19 years of age, their first caps. Botha and Mooney were both rested, which seemed a risk as these were two of the normal first three bowlers to be used. FF had Andy Whittall, the Zimbabwe player. He put his stamp on the game. He took four for 16 in 10 overs, caught two catches, ran out Morgan with a direct hit and scored 27!

Ireland lost two wickets in 14 balls. Bray leaned back to cut Schoonheim (from Holland). The bounce was too high for the shot which went straight to cover. 3-1-0. Morgan came next and played out four balls in Whittall's first over. He did not face another ball. Molins played Schoonheim backwards of square and called a run, a doubtful call considering there was a new cap at the other end and a doubt if it was Molins' call. It must be said Morgan was slow out of his blocks but Whittall's throw was a direct hit with not much to aim at. 4-2-0.

White now seems to be settled at number four. The first boundaries came in over five, two to White, one to fine leg and then, next ball, to mid-wicket. Offspinner Whittall, sizing up the pitch, had four close fielders posted in front of the wicket. Molins managed a four off him to extra cover and the 10 over score was 27. Molins went in the 12th over pushing a catch back to Whittall. Gillespie joined White and when the bowling changed the scoring rate rose. Schoonheim bowled eight overs for 27 but Whittall's seven overs only went for 12.

Deakin, another off-spinner, and leg breaker Turk came on. White hit Turk, in his first over, for four fours in five balls, the first to fine leg, then a sweep to square leg and two square cuts. This carried the score after over 17 from 49 to 65. Gillespie gave Deakin a low caught and bowled chance in the next over when he was 10. He cashed in on this chance by scoring 22 in three overs including a six over long-off from Deakin. Turk dismissed Gillespie in the next over after the fourth wicket pair had put on 66 at exactly 1 run per ball. Gillespie hit a wide leg side ball straight up to backward square leg. 99-4-34.

McCallan was next but he lost White in the next over, the 24th. White was poised for his 50 but he was bowled by Deakin trying to cut an off break which was too near him. His 48 came in 57 balls with eight fours. 104-5-48. Now the innings needed to be shored up and McCallan and Coetzee did just that. The 25 overs score was 105 and fortunately Whittall, with three overs to bowl, was not reintroduced until over 35. By this time the sixth wicket pair had put on 52 invaluable runs. Coetzee scored 34 of them taking 14 of one Turk over. He late cut, cover drove and pulled fours in this over. When Whittall did return he was partnered in turn by two new bowlers, the sixth and seventh used. The end result was that Ireland lost their last five wickets for 16 runs in 39 balls.

Coetzee was out to Whittall's fourth ball on his return, playing across a well pitched up ball to be lbw. 156-6-34. Eagleson played back to the next ball, missed the break and was also lbw. 156-7-0. John Mooney was missed at the wicket in Mohammad's first over but was beaten in the flight and bowled in Whittall's next over. 164-8-5. McCallan faced only three balls while all the above was going on. Now he and Bushe tried hard to make sure 50 overs were batted out, there being still 12 overs to go when Mooney was out. It was not to be. Whittall was finished after 41 overs, with four for 16 in 10 overs, five of which were maidens.

Jones, replacing Whittall, got Bushe with his second ball which was skied to mid-wicket. Rankin played out the over. Then Mohammad got McCallan with the first ball of the 42nd over. He swept the ball to square leg where Jones took a good low catch. Thus eight overs of batting opportunity were lost. Apart from Whittall, the star turn, five of FF's bowlers took a wicket each.

Ireland started to bowl at 2:35 p.m. and, emulating FF had two successes at once, both in the fifth over. The score was nine whem Eagleson squared up Mohammad and had him lbw. Jones ran a leg bye bringing Ratledge to face. He mis-hit the next ball which lobbed to mid-off but Gillespie did well to catch it as he had to dive forward. 10-2-4. Collins joined Jones and scored briskly getting 19 out of a 22 run stand. Rankin was the other opening bowler and he bowled four tidy overs for 12 before being replaced by McCallan. Coetzee came on for Eagleson after the latter had bowled five overs. The first ball of McCallan's second over saw the third wicket fall. Jones drove at the ball, missed the break, and was lbw. 32-3-3. This was McCallan's 100th wicket in his 98th match. He had got to 2000 runs earlier in 2003 against Club Cricket Conference at Waringstown in his 95th match and 85th innings. He is the third to the double of 2000 runs and 100 wickets.

Came joined Collins in what turned out to be the best stand for FF. It put on 59 but used up 18 overs. Again there was a dominant partner, Came scored 41 while Collins got 15. Came's first three scoring shots were fours, all scored in separate McCallan overs. McCallan then bowled a maiden to him but in McCallan's next over, his sixth, Came hit a straight six followed by a swept four. Came was now 22, all in boundaries. This six hit brought up 50 in over 20. White came on for McCallan, to bowl the 22nd over, and Mooney for Coetzee, to bowl the 25th over. Coetzee had bowled three maidens in seven overs for 17 runs. These figures would have been six runs better but for Came hitting a mid-wicket six in Coetzee's last over.

Came seemed to give Bushe a chance when 40 with the score at 88, off Mooney. If so, it was not expensive, as Came was out at 91 in over 30. He went to pull a short ball from White. He missed and was lbw for 41 in 70 balls, 32 of the runs coming in boundaries. Arscott joined Collins who was now 34. In four overs only seven runs were scored. Then Arscott was run out. Collins played White to mid-on. Arscott thought there was a run and backed up too far to beat Coetzee's throw to White. 98-5-4. Deakin came in but Collins was out in the next over. He stabbed at a ball from Mooney and was caught at short cover. His was the longest innings (77 balls) and there were four fours in his 38. 99-6-38.

Dill, the number eight, did not last long. McCallan returned for White and, in his second over, he bowled Dill who played back and may have got a nick. 108-7-6. Whittall joined Deakin and hit a four over mid-on off McCallan to get off the mark. The 40 overs score was 121. So, 52 were needed in 10 overs with three wickets in hand.

Now came a surprise. Morgan was asked to bowl the 41st over with his medium pace right arm bowling. He did very well. At his end he bowled the last five overs of the innings. He did not take a wicket but, at this crucial point, was only hit for 16 runs and 14 of them were singles. When McCallan was bowled out, after 42 overs, White came back. After 45 overs the score was 134 so only 13 had been scored in the last five overs.

Then Whittall hit White for four to extra cover off the first ball of the 46th over. Next ball Deakin backed up too far when Whittall refused a run to square leg. Bushe collected the ball and the throw to White beat the returning Deakin. 138-8-12. 30 had been put on but too slowly as it took 47 balls. Turk was next and 20 more were put on but it took 25 balls and 11 of the 20 were singles.

A new bowler had to bowl the last over as White was bowled out. An unlikely 20 runs were needed. Mooney was chosen to bowl the over. Five were scored in two balls. Then Whittall hit a full toss to the surehanded Coetzee at long-on. Two balls later Schoonheim gave Coetzee a repeat catch.

Ireland had won by 13 runs, their fifth successive win, and on this tour had taken 10 wickets in each match. Ireland had used seven bowlers. Mooney took three wickets, Eagleson and McCallan two each. The four faster bowlers took three for 68, the three spinners three for 91.