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Match Report
Derek Scott

The biggest win for Ireland by an innings in a first class match, but there was only one such before this. Rain washed away the second half of day 2. A start on time on Day 3 was due to remarkable work by the host club. Rain was forecast for the afternoon. At lunch Holland were 104 for 4, needing 86 to make Ireland bat again. In 4.1 overs after lunch Holland were 125 for 9 and the match finished seven overs later at 2.37 p.m. A draw against Scotland in August will win the European section of the Intercontinental Cup and send Ireland to Sharjah in November for the finals.

Ireland's team finally showed only one change from that which lost to MCC White replaced Kidd. Molins cried off injured three hours before departure and was replaced in the party of 12 by M Hutchinson, a batsman from Bangor, but he did not play. McCallan became captain. For various reasons of injury, business or county commitments Bushe, O'Brien, McCoubrey, Morgan, Cooke and P Mooney were not available. JF Mooney and Botha played only as batsmen due to injury. Most of the Dutch players had played previously against Ireland. The pitch was brown, slightly damp, and played slow. There had been rain and wet surrounds delayed the start of the match by 45 minutes. The day started overcast but the sun appeared in the afternoon. It was never very warm and there was some breeze.

This was a new ICC competition for the top three teams in each of four Regions. The winners of each regional group would contest the finals in Sharjah in November. Ireland had qualified for the European Group by virtue of beating Denmark in a three match One Day series at the end of 2003. It was perhaps somewhat strange that qualification for a three day tournament would be decided based on a one day series, but there was no logistical alternative given that, based on most recent results, it was not possible fairly to decide between Ireland and Denmark. Scotland and Holland had already played a drawn match in Scotland in this Group. Scotland had 17 points to Holland's 16. Bonus points were awarded in each innings, a half point for every 25 runs up to 300 (6 available) and a half point for every wicket taken (up to five points). The first innings of each team was restricted to 90 overs. If the team batting first does not use those 90 overs, the team batting second may use any residue over and above their own 90 overs.

Ireland won the toss and fielded. De Grooth and Van Nierop began to Johnston and Shoukat. The former's first two balls were no balls but he was swinging the ball. He bowled two more no balls in his second over. There was a near run out early on if a direct throw had hit the wicket and de Grooth was bowled by a Shoukat no ball. He snicked the ball on to his wicket and ran two. There was a lot of playing and missing and then, in the seventh over, de Grooth was caught at third slip by McCallan. 18-1-10. Raja came in and there was an unusual double change after 14 overs, five of them maidens. Bray (slow medium seam up) came on for Johnston and Joyce for Shoukat. Bray only bowled two overs and then Shoukat, changing ends, came back on. Joyce bowled four good overs for 12 and, in his second, had Raja lbw to a well pitched up ball. This was his eighth over for Ireland and his first wicket. He bowls medium pace. 29-2-1. Zuiderent came in. Thompson replaced Joyce for over 24. Shoukat's next over would have seen Van Nierop run out if McCallan had hit the wicket from mid-on. McCallan bowled the last over before lunch, taken after 29 overs at 79 for 2, Van Nierop 29 and Zuiderent 15. 50 had come up after 25 overs.

Joyce and Johnston resumed bowling after lunch. After four overs Van Nierop gave Mooney a difficult chance wide to his left at short extra cover off Johnston. White came on for Joyce (over 38) and in his first over Van Nierop escaped again at short extra cover - another difficult chance to Bray. In the following over the third wicket fell. Johnston had Zuiderent caught low by Ogilby. 93-3-24. Van Troost, the left handed captain came in but at the end of that over there was a 33 minute break for rain. Soon after the resumption Van Nierop played across White and was lbw. His 38 took 125 balls. 97-4-38. Reekers was next. Starting with White's wicket maiden, there followed nine maidens in 10 overs - a single run was scored in those 10 overs and Van Troost, yet to score, gave Botha a chance in the gully off McCallan. In over 53 Reekers hit a four and a straight six off White to carry the score from 99 to 109. Tea came after 53 overs at 110 for four, Van Troost 0 (in 45 balls) and Reekers 11.

On resumption Van Troost, after 53 balls on 0, hit Shoukat for a four and a six to open his account. Another six to long off by Van Troost off Johnston saw the score leap to 140 after 59 overs. Ireland then resorted to spin and Thompson, in his first over (60th) had Reekers lbw trying to pull. 146-5-26. Kloppenburg lasted only 7 balls before McCallan bowled him trying to drive. 147-6-0. Three overs later McCallan bowled Van Troost with his arm ball. He had scored 19 in 93 balls. 148-7-19. Three wickets had fallen for one run but the last three wickets put on 52.

This rally started with Esmeijer and Schiferli who put on 36 in 12 overs. McCallan got cramp after bowling 11 overs in all and taking 2 for 6. Thompson and White continued and one felt that spin and pace ought to have been alternated. This happened after Esmeijer took two sixes and a four in one Thompson over. Shoukat came on and White changed ends. Shoukat's first ball (over 79) bowled Esmeijer as he tried to drive. 184-8-23. Schiferli took 15 off White's next over (80th) including a six over long-on. The new ball, available after 80 overs, was taken by Johnston immediately. The 5th and 6th balls of over 81 (which had included a no ball) ended the innings. Schiferli was lbw for 24 and Ogilby caught Gokke. 200 had taken 80.5 overs of the allowed ninety and so Ireland could use the nine unused overs if they wanted to. Ireland used seven bowlers and all were inexpensive. The best was Johnston with 4 for 34 in 17.5 overs. Despite the slow scoring 104 of Holland's 200 had come in boundaries.

Ireland had 22 overs to bat before the close. They made good use of them scoring 84 runs but they did lose a wicket. Schiferli (medium outswing) and Gokke (quickish) started and Joyce snicked the former for a four off the first ball. Bray pulled a four in the second over. Reekers (quickish off a short run) came on for the eighth over and Joyce took two successive fours. They were his last scoring shots. His footwork let him down and Schiferli bowled him in the 9th over. 38-1-19. Botha came in and, at once, guided a four to third man. Botha hit a four in over 11 to bring up 50. Before the close Holland tried Kloppenburg (medium) and Raja (off spin). By the close Bray (29) had hit three fours and Botha (26) had hit five boundaries.

Day 2 was chilly and overcast with rain forecast for the afternoon. The pitch still showed some dampness. Ireland's start was bad against the opening bowlers. In the second over Bray got one that lifted and he popped it to short extra cover. 88-2-29. White came in to play the innings of his life but lost Botha in over 29. He nibbled at one that moved away and was caught at the wicket. 102-3-42. The ever reliable Gillespie joined White to stop the rot. They did so, with White doing most of the scoring. In six overs he hit four fours. Gokke went off for Kloppenburg but Schiferli bowled 10 overs. In over 38 he saw Gillespie dropped at first slip, when 8, at 135. 150 was up in over 43. Gillespie warmed up and scored mostly in fours - five of them in nine overs. Esmeijer (slow left arm) was tried. Then, for over 48, Van Troost brought himself on (left arm medium). He got a wicket but it was a run out. White stroked to square point and called an impossible run. Gillespie responded and was run out. 174-4-31. The stand was worth 72 in 19 overs. In came McCallan and there were no more alarms up to lunch. In over 51, with a single, White went to 50 at 188 off 79 balls. 11 off the next over (52) brought up 200. Just before lunch White hit Van Troost for six over mid-wicket. Lunch was taken at 228 for 4 in 60 overs with White 68 and McCallan 22. Three overs after lunch McCallan was bowled round his legs by Raja trying to nudge on the leg side. The stand had put on 61 in 15 overs. 235-5-26. Johnston came next and played himself in while White continued to score freely. 250 was up in over 67. An assault began in over 70 (Reekers) off which Johnston took 10. Nine came in over 71 (Raja) with both batsmen getting fours. Two fours for White in Reeker's next over brought him to 99. At 98 White reached 1000 runs for Ireland in his 47th match and 42nd innings - the 38th man to do so. Van Troost replaced Raja and a square cut for four took White to 103 at 293. He had faced 145 balls with a six and 14 fours.

Kloppenburg replaced Reekers and lasted one over! Johnston hit it for 20. It went 4-dot-6 (straight) -6 (mid wicket)-2-4. At its end 315 was up after 74 overs. White was not to be left behind. He hit Van Troost for a six over long-off, took 10 off the over, and was dropped at the wicket off the last ball. Scoring now slowed but Johnston reached 50 at 338 in over 79, off 53 balls. He celebrated by hitting Esmeijer for a six over long-off in the next over. The new ball was taken at 353 after 80 overs. Gokke bowled the first over with it and Schiferli the second. Johnston chopped his first ball on to his wicket. 359-6-60. Johnston faced 61 balls with 3x6 and 6x4. Three balls later Mooney was lbw. 359-7-0. Shoukat watched White launch another assault. He hit Schiferli for 9 in over 84 and a six over wide mid-on off the first ball of the next over (Gokke). This brought White to 149. Two balls later a single to third man saw him to 150 at 378 off 178 balls - his third 50 coming in 33 balls. He is the fifth player to score 150 or more in an innings. The most recent was AR Dunlop, 150 exactly, v Scotland at Ayr in 2000.

Reekers came on and got Shoukat with the last ball of the over - a good caught and bowled over his head. His dismissal brought the declaration at 388 for seven after 87 overs. This was one more than the score against Hertfordshire in 2003 and the highest since 418 v Wales at Cardiff in 1923. White's innings was wonderful and his second century for Ireland. He was in for just under four hours, faced 182 balls with 3x6 and 17x4. He was dropped once at 113. Not many people have made a score as high as 152 not out on 1st class debut and it was the first such hundred on first class debut in Holland. Of Ireland's 388 no less than 224 came in boundaries (6x6 and 47x4). 12 overs of the possible 99 Ireland could have faced were unused.

Holland used seven bowlers and they were a moderate lot. Schiferli was easily the best, four for 70 in 20 overs of 87 bowled, and might have been used more. He did not bowl from over 42 until over 82. Ireland had full bonus points - six for batting and five for bowling. Holland had 8 bonus points. At 3.18 Van Nierop and Kloppenburg (replacing de Grooth) started for Holland with a 188 run deficit. Only 10 balls could be bowled before rain stopped play for the day. The last ball bowled accounted for Kloppenburg caught at silly mid-off - Shoukat the bowler. 0-1-0.

On the third morning the Irish players and supporters helped to remove the side covers which were laden with water and play, most unexpectedly, began on time at 10.45 a.m. Raja replaced Kloppenburg. Attacking fields were set for Shoukat and Johnston but there were too many balls that the batsmen did not have to play. After eight overs McCallan and Thompson came on. Within three overs both batsmen gave near impossible chances to Shoukat at long leg off hooks. Both batsmen hit three fours on a very slow pitch and 50 was up in over 20. Then White replaced McCallan and got Raja at once - a straight ball having him lbw. 54-2-18. Zuiderent came in and put on 16 runs in seven overs with Van Nierop. Then Thompson, in his ninth over, had Van Nierop caught by Ogilby. 70-3-41.

Van Troost was next and the previous partnership was replicated as Holland tried to bat all day long and draw the match. In fairness it was their only option. Another 16 runs were put on in seven more overs. McCallan replaced White and in his second over (35th) Zuiderent was lbw trying to sweep. 86-4-13. Reekers joined his captain and they survived to lunch (45) overs taken at 103 for 4. Van Troost hit a six over long-on followed by a four, next ball, in Thompson's 12th over. At lunch Van Troost was 17 in 59 balls and Reekers 4. It did seem that there might have been more variety in the bowling by using the quicker bowlers in short spells. The quick bowlers did come back post lunch and the match was virtually over after 29 balls. The first two balls after lunch from Shoukat accounted for Reekers, lbw, and de Grooth caught at second slip. 103 for 6. Esmeijer snicked a leg side single off the hat-trick ball. The Van Troost hit a no ball for four and hit another four off the last ball. An eventful over!

Johnston furthered the collapse with his second ball which swung into Van Troost as he pushed out and bowled him. 114-7-25. Shoukat's next over saw Esmeijer pushing out to be caught by Ogilby, after hitting the previous ball for four. 118-8-6. Smits joined Schiferli who took seven off a Johnston over but fell to the first ball of Shoukat's next over. He left the ball alone and was out lbw. 125-9-7. In 13 balls Shoukat had taken 4 wickets for 17 and had 5 for 25 in 7.1 overs. He is a great addition to the team even as the oldest member at 38. He bowled straight, quickish and on a good length. The last five or more wicket haul in a first class match for Ireland was by GD Harrison in the first innings v Scotland at Myreside in 1990. He, in fact, took 9 for 113. Shoukat and Johnston bowled two more overs each at the last pair (Smits and Gokke). Then Ireland turned to spin - Thompson and McCallan. However the last pair survived for seven overs. With the first ball of the 57th over Gokke was caught at gully off McCallan. All five of Ireland's bowlers took at least one wicket. The two quicker bowlers bowled 18 overs, the three spinners 38.1. The centrepiece was Shoukat with 9-2-30-5.

This was Ireland's 120th first class match since the first in 1902. Only once was 388 runs in an innings exceeded in such a match. In 1911 at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow, Ireland made 409 for 4 declared against Scotland. In the 120 such matches now played Ireland have won 27 and lost 53.

Holland were now out of the European Zone of the InterContinental Cup. All depends on the match against Scotland in Dublin starting on August 6th. Ireland have 30 points going into that match to Scotland's 17. Scotland therefore must win the match to win the European Zone. Any other result will see Ireland win it.

The regulations for the tournament are somewhat flawed. Ireland received no second innings bonus points because they did not require a second innings. When a side wins by an innings there should be some compensation for the bonus points they had no opportunity to gain.