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Match Report
Derek Scott

Another respectable show, although a loss by seven wickets. One match later Sussex won this Southern Section of the Trophy and will play in the Lord's final on August 26.

Sussex had in their team five Test players. Prior, Adams and Kirtley were English Test players, Goodwin played for Zimbabwe and Mushtaq Ahmed played for Pakistan. Mushtaq was greatly featured in Sussex's first ever County Championship win in 2003. for Ireland, Morgan had been claimed by Middlesex, and he was replaced for Ireland by Porterfield. Pakistan had selected Afridi for their tour of England and K. O'Brien replaced him, to win his first cap. O'Brien (Railway Union) had spent two years on the MCC groundstaff. He was 22 years of age and a brother of international Niall and son of international Brendan. Botha was injured in a league match (in which he should not have been allowed to play) the previous day and was replaced by AR White, who had been released by Northamptonshire.

The deal was gloriously sunny and the pitch a good one when Ireland won the toss and batted. The start was a disaster. After six overs from Lewry and Kirtley the score was 10-3! The White/Gillespie stand of 71 for the fourth wicket set matters right and this was further enhanced by McCallan and John Mooney adding 74 for the eighth wicket. However, Sussex made light of the task winning in 37 overs by seven wickets with Montgomerie scoring his second successive century in this competition.

This was the 10th match against Sussex, since the first in 1956. The second match, a three-day game at Pagham in 1977, had given Ireland their only win. Indeed it was Ireland's first ever win against a county. Six competitive matches, all lost, had been played since 1983 in the NatWest and B and H cups. The last such was in 1986 at Ormeau. Ireland's only survivor was McCallan who top scored with 17 in an Ireland total of 80.

Lewry's second ball had Joyce LBW playing no stroke. Bray repeated this performance to Kirtley's second ball. Ireland's first runs came from three wides in Lewry's second over. In the sixth over Porterfield hit a four to mid-wicket off Kirtley but, off the last ball of that over, picked out the tallest of the 22 players (Martin-Jenkins) for a catch to mid-on. The fielder still had to jump to catch it! 10-3-5. Gillespie joined White and a slow period followed. Martin-Jenkins was tried for Lewry but 20 only came up in over 12. Lewry changed ends and, in over 13, White hit Martin-Jenkins for fours to mid-wicket and extra-cover. Gillespie cut his first four in over 16, a snick. One of the great leg spinners, Mushtaq Ahmad, came on for over 17 and medium paced Wright for over 20. 50 had come up in over 18 and Gillespie greeted Wright with two fours in his first over, both to third man.

Gillespie hit Wright for two more fours, but lost White in over 24. Wright squared him up, White missed and was LBW. 81-4-20. The 71 run partnership had come in 18 overs. Johnston hit his first ball for four to extra cover but was out in Wright's next over. He moved in, missed, and became the fourth LBW victim in five wickets. 86-5-4. O'Brien came in for his first International innings. He started with care but took seven singles off his first 14 balls. In over 31 Gillespie, with a single off Mushtaq, went to 50 out of 103 runs in 87 balls. Gillespie watched O'Brien hit a returning Kirtley for six to long leg but himself faced only two more balls. He was LBW in Mushtaq's ninth over giving the latter his only wicket off what looked like a googly. It was Gillespie's 18th half century. 114-6-51. It came off 89 balls with seven fours.

McCallan came in and played very well and briskly. He was last out for 41 scored off 43 balls with six fours. McCallan swept his third ball for four but the stand of 12 with O'Brien only lasted 21 balls. O'Brien was dropped at the wicket in Mushtaq's last over. In the next over from Kirtley, the 36th, O'Brien had a four to mid-off but two balls later he moved in, missed, and became the sixth LBW of the innings, out of seven wickets to fall so far. 126-7-23. John Mooney is a very good number nine batsman. In 10 overs 74 were put on and Mooney scored 34 of the runs from 34 balls. The bowling was mostly from Lewry and Martin-Jenkins. In the stand McCallan hit four fours and Mooney hit two. 150 came up in over 40. Kirtley replaced Lewry for the 46th over which was the most expensive of the innings. 20 runs were scored from it taking the score from 180 to 200. McCallan took 10 off the over and there was a wide which went for four. It did not last! For the next over, the 47th, Wright returned and took wickets with his first two balls. Mooney was bowled hitting out, 200-8-34, and Saqlain was caught at the wicket next ball, 200-9-0.

With Paul Mooney joining McCallan, 22 balls remained but the innings ended after 17, and a further 16 runs. When the last over was called four of the Sussex bowlers had bowled their allotted stints of 10 overs leaving Lewry to bowl the 50th over. His first ball bowled McCallan for the second highest score of 41. In 2006 McCallan had never batted higher than number seven. This innings gained promotion to number four for the match against England two days later. 126-7 became 216 all out thanks to the efforts of McCallan and John Mooney.

Sussex used the minimum number of five bowlers. The least expensive, by far, was Mushtaq, 1-26. The most expensive, Wright, was also the leading wicket taker, 4-56 in his 10 overs. At 2:50 p.m., the sun still very hot, Montgomerie and Prior started against Paul Mooney and Johnston. And no time did Sussex never look in the slightest trouble. In 23 balls the opening pair scored 40. The 24th ball bowled Prior. 40-1-19. Montgomerie started with three fours in the first over, from Mooney, and Prior had two fours in the second over from Johnston. The third over gave Prior a four and a six. In the fourth over Montgomerie struck the eighth boundary so far and his fourth. The last ball of this over saw Johnston bowl Prior. The Sussex captain, Adams, came in at number three and the pace slowed. John Mooney replaced his brother for a three over stint, which cost 14 runs, but 50 was up in over seven. At least it took another 10 overs for 100 to appear. O'Brien bowled three tidy overs which cost 13 runs. Paul Mooney came back for over 16 in which Montgomerie went to 50 off 94 in 50 balls with seven fours.

Saqlain and McCallan were soon bowling in tandem. Between them they bowled 11 overs for 66 runs. Adams hit two sixes off Saqlain, the second of which took him to 51 out of 138 from 61 balls with two sixes and six fours. After 25 overs the score was exactly 150. O'Brien returned for his fourth over, the 29th, at 170. His first ball, a very short one, had Adams caught at the wicket of the top edge. 170-2-65. Adams' 65 came off 69 balls with two sixes and seven fours. Goodwin was next. Johnston brought himself back in place of McCallan for over 30. His third ball had the new batsman LBW playing no shot. 176-3-2. The left-handed Yardy was number four. In just under eight overs the remaining 41 runs were scored. Montgomerie got most of the strike. With a four off Johnston in over 36 Montgomerie reached 101 out of 205, off 107 balls and with 11 fours. Before the match ended he hit another four off John Mooney. It was a commanding innings with no mistakes.

Five of Ireland's six bowlers all cost five runs per over or more. Johnston was the exception with 2-41 in nine overs. The ground fielding held up well but 22 fours were struck which is exactly as many as Ireland had hit.

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