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Match Report
Derek Scott

The match lasted only 15 overs and just as well for Ireland. At the fifth attempt (out of five) in 2006 Johnston won the toss and sent Surrey in. He may have remembered that Ireland beat Surrey in Castle Avenue in 2004 when chasing 261. However, here Surrey reached 100 in the 15 overs that the weather allowed. Opening bat Benning at that point was 61 from 41 balls and seemed eager for more. Surrey had former English Test players Butcher (now captain) Ramprakash and Salisbury and, matching Ireland, two Pakistani Test Players in Azhar Mahmood and Mohammad Akram. AD Brown was an English Limited Overs International. It was his third match against Ireland. Saqlain Mushtaq switched sides, having played for Surrey in 2004. Ireland were unchanged from the Essex match. Each side had six survivors from the famous 2004 match.

Rain the previous day and during the night made the outfield too wet to play until just after noon and when the match started it had been reduced to a 42 over a side game. After 7.3 overs there was a further interruption of 36 minutes and when the game resumed it had been further reduced to 38 overs a side. At 1.43 pm the rain, always a drizzle, became heavy again and no more play took place. It was officially abandoned at 4.40 pm. The pitch was beige coloured and hard.

As against Essex Ireland had a great start with the ball. Johnston opened the bowling to Batty. His first ball was followed by a wide. The next ball totally beat Batty and bowled him. 1-1-0. The captain, Butcher, came in next, having only played four matches in 2005 due to injury. Ireland gained another success in over nine, but in between carnage reigned. No less than 73 runs were scored in this period by Benning, mostly, and Butcher. Benning got the first four, a square drive, in Johnston's first over. The Mooney, who bowled so well against Essex, went for 36 in two overs. He started with two wides and his first over cost 15, including a four to square leg by Benning. Mooney's second (and last!) over cost 21. Benning in five balls hit 6(to backward square)-2-6(over mid wicket)-2-4. The four over score was 47. The first ball of Johnston's third over brought up 50 and Benning hit two more fours, one a snick and one to extra cover. Now it was 61 in five overs. Botha came on and stemmed the tide - only two singles in his first over. Butcher hit his first four in Johnston's fourth and last over (4-0-32-1). After three balls of Botha's next over rain stopped play for 36 minutes, with the score 72-1 off 7.3 overs.

When play resumed Langford-Smith took over from Johnston for the ninth over. To date, in four matches, Langford-Smith had taken one for 142 in 18.4 overs. Now he produced his best bowling spell so far. Up to the end of the match, he bowled four overs for 13 runs and took a wicket with his fourth ball. Butcher cut at it without foot movement and was caught at the wicket. 73-2-24. The stand of 72 came in 50 balls. Ramprakash was next, having previously lost two matches against Ireland - one for Middlesex and one for Surrey. He took a single off his first ball and, next ball, Benning, with a snick for four, went to his 50. It came out of 78 in 27 balls with two sixes and seven fours, 40 out of 50 in boundaries. In Botha's next over (10th) Benning hit yet another four. It proved to be the last four of the innings. In fact in the last five overs before the rain 16 runs only were scored by means of 11 singles, two twos and a wide. The last ball of the match brought up 100.

There were four extras (all wides) so 96 runs came from the bat. In six overs combined Johnston and Mooney conceded 68 runs while Botha and Langford-Smith in nine overs conceded 32, less than half those conceded by the opening bowlers. Sending a county in to bat on a miserable day did not seem a good idea!

This was the 11th match against Surrey since the first in 1879 - the most against any county. There is one win, six draws and four defeats. In recent competitive times there have been five matches, one win, three defeats and this draw.

Stormont, Belfast