Scotland regained its long held domination over Ireland which they lost three weeks earlier in Holland. In the end they won this match easily and deservedly and they will represent Europe in the Semi-Finals of the InterContinental Cup in Sharjah in November, joining Canada, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates.
In all probability the toss decided the match. Scotland won it and put Ireland in on a green top on which the lateral movement was prodigious. These conditions prevailed as long as there was cloud cover. The cloud had completely disappeared when Scotland began to bat in their second innings on Day 2, needing 205 to win. By the close they were 118 for 2 on a pitch that was now benign. Next day rain nearly saved Ireland. It rained until 3.30 p.m. and play could not start until 5.12 p.m. with a close of play at 7.30 p.m. Only 15.3 overs were needed for Watts (118) and Lockhart (53) to see Scotland home with no further loss of wicket.
It must be said that the Irish batting was, generally speaking, poor. Too many extravagant shots were played on this pitch, the like of which had never before been seen at Castle Avenue. Care and defence were needed. In the Irish first innings 76 for 6 was retrieved firstly by Gillespie and then by a 69 run 8th wicket stand by Mooney and Shoukat which occupied 16 overs. The second Irish innings followed a somewhat different pattern which was no better. 89 for 5 was retrieved by White and Johnston's 70 for the 6th wicket to carry the score, at one time, to 159 for 5. In 50 more balls this became 178 all out. Three of Ireland's top six batsmen scored an aggregate of 17 runs between them in six innings.
Ireland selected 12 of this match. Of those who were in Holland in July, McCallan was not available (getting married) while JF Mooney and G Cooke were left out. EJG Morgan was available and was brought into the 12. DI Joyce was nominated as 12th man. There were in fact 4 changes from the previous match (v Denmark). In came Morgan, Thompson, PJK Mooney and Gillespie for JF Mooney, McCallan, Cooke and Joyce. As compared with the previous InterContinental Cup match against Holland there were three changes, Molins, Morgan and PJK Mooney came in for McCallan, Joyce and JF Mooney. For Scotland there were three changes from the team that played Ireland at Deventer. Rigby, Williamson and Stanger dropped out and CV English, Asim Butt and DR Lockhart came in.
Play started on time with three maiden overs from Hoffman and Butt to Molins and Bray. So far did the first 18 balls deviate off the pitch that neither batsman had to play even a single ball. The 19th ball had Bray lbw off a well pitched up ball from Butt that cut back. 0-1-0. Botha came in but there was no score until the fifth over when Molins hit two fours off Hoffman. Botha hit a four backward of cover in Butt's next over but was out to its last ball - caught at second slip off a poor shot. 12-2-4. White was next and there was much playing and missing on this lively pitch. White scored a three in the ninth over, the first scoring shot that was not a boundary. White hit two more fours. Then Wright replaced Hoffman. His fifth ball induced a drive from White and a catch at third slip. 39-3-11.
Gillespie was next. The hitting of fours continued. This was because three slips, a gully and no third man continued in the hope of snicks getting wickets. 50 was up in over 16 and this included nine fours. Nel, replacing Butt, had bowled this 16th over. Gillespie now hit three fours in two overs but the first ball of Wright's fifth over accounted for Molins and gave Watson his third slip catch. It was another loose shot and Molins was not over the ball. 71-4-31. There were seven fours in this 31 off 61 balls. Three balls later, in the same over, Morgan was caught at the wicket off a thin edge. 71-5-0. Worse followed. Johnston came in and hit a four off Wright's last ball but was out in Nel's next over. He was caught at first slip. 76-6-4. Six were now out in the 23rd over but the innings could last for 90 overs. Mooney arrived and he and Gillespie saw out the period to lunch, 15 overs, without another wicket falling. 38 runs were added and Gillespie did most of the scoring. By lunchtime he had six fours in his 40 while Mooney had scored 10. In 37 overs 114 runs were scored.
Off spinner Maiden had bowled one over (a maiden) just before lunch. His second over was the first after lunch. Gillespie drove a four to extra cover off the third ball. The fifth he advanced to but drove it into his pad and up to short leg. 118-7-44. Gillespie hit 7 fours off 73 balls and his innings was the beginning of the salvation of the innings. When Shoukat joined Mooney the pitch had eased but only a little. After a slow start these two began to play strokes. Hoffman joined Maiden as the first bowlers after lunch. Then came Wright and Nel. Fours began to flow again. Mooney hit two in successive overs. The Shoukat hit two in one Wright over to bring up 150 in over 47. Then, in over 52, Shoukat hooked a four, drove a four to extra cover and hit a full toss for another four to long-off - all of Nel's bowling. Butt came back (over 53) for Wright. Mooney played across his front pad to the first ball. He missed and was lbw. 187-8-32. The stand was worth 69 in 98 balls. The end was near. Ogilby was caught at the wicket at 189. Four runs later Watson, the sixth bowler used, bowled Shoukat with an off break. The score was 193 and only 59.4 overs had been used. This meant that Scotland can bat for 120 overs if they can and wish to. 29 fours were hit, a tally of 116 out of 193. Butt had a field day with his left arm over fast medium seamers. In 15 overs he had four for 25. Wright had three for 49 in 12 overs and three more bowlers took a wicket each.
At 3.30 p.m. it was Scotland's turn and they fared no better. 43 overs were left in the day's play or play could continue until 7.00 p.m., whichever came later. In fact by 7.00 Ireland had bowled 46 overs and Scotland were 133 for six - 60 runs behind Ireland. Two very experienced batsman, Patterson and Lockhart, opened for Scotland to the bowling of Mooney and Shoukat. Each batsman hit a four. The Mooney had Lockhart out in his second over. Lockhart hooked a long hop for four in front of square. Two balls later he repeated the shot but Shoukat, at long-leg, did not have to move to take the catch. 9-1-4. Watts then came in. Shoukat moved to Mooney's end (after two Mooney overs) and Botha came on at the city end. With three slips and two gullies scoring was slow. Botha bowled three maidens out of four and there was only a single in his fourth over. Thompson bowled a maiden before tea, taken after 13 overs at 33 for 1.
Due to an ankle injury Johnston could only bowl at half pace off a short run. Nevertheless after two more Botha maidens and one by Johnston, it was the latter who took the second wicket in the 19th over. Patterson moved in and then played across the ball to be lbw. 41-2-16. Watson joined Watts but the next four overs were all faced by Watts and the score rose by 17, 50 arriving in over 22. Watson hit Botha for a four - a long hop to wide long-on. Shoukat replaced Johnston. Watts pulled his second ball for four and was bowled by the fourth ball playing forward. 66-3-31. English was next, new to the Irish match. He began briskly and one felt that the pitch had begun to ease - but not much. 100 came up in over 32 and the stand with Watson was worth 36 when Shoukat had English caught at the wicket off a ball that lifted. 102-4-20. Wright joined Watts. Mooney had bowled three overs and was replaced by Botha. With 37 overs bowled Shoukat had bowled 12 of them in taking 2 for 42. Johnston replaced him. After bowling two overs Botha went off for Thompson. This change worked at once. The third ball bowled Wright around his legs - a sight not often seen. It was a sharply turning leg break that Wright tried to glide. 119-5-16. Three overs later Johnston had Maiden lbw to a well pitched up ball. 126-6-5. Smith joined Watson and played out to the 7 pm close at 133 for 6. 106 overs had been bowled. With the change of innings the minimum was 103. Watson was 20, Smith 6.
The second day was chilly and overcast and the pitch was still green with brown spots. 13.1 overs were required to take Scotland's four remaining wickets for 34 giving Ireland a 26 run lead. The first innings of both teams ended in the 60th over. Shoukat and Botha bowled unchanged for Ireland. Shoukat took the first three wickets and Botha the last. 10 runs came in the first four overs. Then Shoukat moved one away from Watson who was caught at the wicket. 143-7-23. Four overs and six runs later Butt was out but not before a clash of fielders at mid-on (Thompson and White and the latter's fault) had reprieved him. Butt mishit and the ball went back in the air to the bowler. 149-8-5. At 153 Hoffman was bowled pushing out at a ball that kept low. Smith and Nel put on 145 (12 to Smith and two extras) for the 10th wicket. Shoukat missed a run out when he dropped an excellent throw in that would have run Smith out. First ball next over Smith was caught by Thompson at deep square leg. Scotland hit 20 fours in their 167 runs. All Ireland's bowlers took at least one wicket but for the second time in consecutive innings in a first class match Shoukat took five, this time for 60 runs in 19 overs.
Just after noon Ireland went in again with a lead of 26. Hopefully this would be built on but it did not happen. By 4 p.m. Ireland were bowled out again in 51.4 overs for 178 setting Scotland 205 to win - if achieved this would be the highest total of the match. During most of Ireland's innings the day remained cloudy and again assisted the bowlers and the three Scottish quick bowlers, Hoffman Butt and Wright, bowled very well. Towards the end of the innings a very strong sun appeared. The pitch, under the sun's influence, became benign and was, for Scotland's second innings, to become the best of the match. Ireland's luck was out but they did, once again, bat badly and were too keen to play risky shots.
Two wickets were down for six and four for 57. Hoffman bowled a superb first over and was unlucky not to dismiss Molins. Bray hit a four off Butt. Hoffman bowled another maiden to Molins. Then, in his second over, Butt took two wickets in three balls. Bray nibbled and was caught at the wicket. 6-1-6. Botha was a little unlucky. He snicked to second slip who failed to catch it but succeeded in palming it up to first slip. 6-2-0. White joined Molins who began to score quickly. In eight overs he hit six fours with assorted strokes. In Butt's sixth over he square cut and off drove fours and was out next ball - a typical flick across the line of the ball which bowled him. His 31, same as in the first innings, came in 36 balls. He was just going too fast too soon when consolidation should have been the first objective. 48-3-31. Gillespie, got a great starter, did not get going. Wright replaced Hoffman. 50 came up in over 13. In Wright's second over Gillespie followed a ball moving away and was caught at the wicket. 57-4-1. Morgan dug in with White. Lunch came five overs later, but not before White gave a leg side chance at the wicket off Butt. The lunch score was 67 for 4, White 22, Morgan 4.
Wright and Hoffman bowled after lunch. Maiden was injured in the field and retired with 12th man Stanger coming on. Maiden returned after eight overs. The score moved along at the rate of about two an over, reaching 89 after 30 overs. The pitch was still producing bounce with the odd ball keeping low. Then Morgan was out for seven having faced 42 balls. He followed a leg side ball from Wright and was caught low down by wicket-keeper Smith. 89-5-7. The stand of 32 took close to an hour, which was the kind of caution needed. Then Johnston joined White and Ireland's hopes rose. They both played a lot of "dot" balls interspersed with fours - in fact Johnston hit his first ball for four to long-off and two overs later hit Wright for two successive fours to bring up 100 in over 33. Butt returned for Hoffman and in his third over back Johnston hit a six over long-off. Nel came on for Butt and 11 came in this over which included White's 50 with a two through mid-on. He had faced 103 balls. Watson (off breaks) came on for Wright and the Irish pair were now scoring quite briskly. In nine overs they had put on 50 and brought up 150 in over 51.
Then, in over 44, disaster set in. In eight overs Ireland lost their last five wickets for 19 runs. It started with White mishooking to deep mid-wicket where Watts did not have to move to take the catch. 159-6-67. White faced 120 balls with eight fours. It was a fine innings, apart from its ending. In five overs Johnston and Mooney put on 13. In this stand Johnston hit two fours but Mooney, playing cautiously, had most of the strike. Hoffman had returned and in the 49th over bowled Mooney. 172-7-5. Butt came back for Nel and, at once, had Shoukat caught at the wicket. 173-8-0. This was the real disaster of this period as it was hoped that Johnston and Shoukat could develop a partnership.
Ogilby, lasting only six balls, was bowled by Hoffman. 174-9-0. It must be said that Johnston did little to protect the tail but he it was who was last man out. He had scored 47 in 58 balls with a six and six fours when he was lbw to Butt, hitting across the ball. The three main Scottish bowlers, Hoffman, Butt and Wright, were all inexpensive. The pick of them was Botha's five for 47 in 13.4 overs. His match figures were nine for 72 in 28.4 overs. 90 of Ireland's 178 came in boundaries. Tea was now taken. Scotland restarted at 4.27 p.m. Close of play was 7.00 p.m. or 41 overs, whichever came first. In fact 38 overs were bowled in very hot sunshine. The pitch certainly turned benign but Ireland did not bowl as well as Scotland had done. From an Irish point of view the start was good. Two wickets were down for 28 but, as it transpired, that was the end for Ireland. An unbroken stand of 178 in 44 overs by Lockhart and Watts put paid to an Irish trip to Sharjah in November. Scotland would represent Europe.
Patterson and Butt (a "pinch hitter") opened for Scotland, as they knew that the forecast for the third day was dire. Botha and Shoukat shared the new ball. Butt got 18 in the first eight overs, including a straight six off Shoukat. The first ball of the ninth over saw Butt caught at the wicket off Botha. The ball moved away off the ground. 27-1-18. Lockhart came in and played out the over. Johnston off a short run, due to his injury, replaced Shoukat. His second ball saw Patterson drive a low catch to White at cover. 28-2-9. Watts was next and he hit three fours off Johnston's second over. Four of the overs surrounding Watts' assault were maidens and 50 came up in 17 overs. Now the bowling switched a lot. Mooney got three overs, Shoukat returned for three, Thompson got two at the city end and then returned for five at the Killester end, and before the end Botha got one from each end and with Shoukat bowling an over in between. Johnston had left the field with Joyce coming on as substitute. Both batsmen were careful but hit 16 fours between them and gave no chances. The bowling was very ordinary. 100 came up in 31 overs and the close of play score (38 overs) was 118 for two. Lockhart 31 and Watts 57. Watts went to 50 in over 32 at 101. He faced 57 balls.
The predicted wind and rain did appear on the third day and lasted almost long enough to provide a drawn match. It stopped at 3.30 and it did not rain again, although the sky was very black and rain always looked imminent. Play eventually started at 5.15 pm after a long mopping up operation and there was a 7.30 finish. Scotland needed 87 to win and decided to go after the task quickly in case it rained again. In 15.3 overs they hit off the runs and did not lose a wicket. The pitch was as green as ever but played slow and Ireland did not bowl with much aggression.
Johnston started and bowled one over for nine (two fours to Watts). Shoukat bowled a maiden. Then Botha took over and in his over the 100 partnership came up in 31 overs. Botha and Shoukat bowled three overs each which cost 23 runs and saw 150 up after 45 overs. Close fields were not set, there being only one slip and a gully. White came on and Watts hit successive balls for a four and a six over wide long-on. Johnston came back and bowled a maiden. Thompson replaced White at 168. White went on at the other end and, second ball, Watts went to his century with a six over long-on. He had faced 127 balls with 2 sixes and 16 fours. In over 53 Lockhart went to 50 in 183 balls - he was very much the junior partner. The winning hit was a six to mid-wicket by Watts off Thompson.
It was great to beat Surrey and the West Indies but this team, to achieve greatness within Irish cricket, must win a tournament played against their peers.