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Match Report
Derek Scott

For the sixth European Championships, Ireland selected a panel of 15 to travel to Scotland. 10 of these had played in the last match against Somerset. The wicket-keeper in that match, Wilson, was left out. In came Morgan, N O'Brien, Rankin and White, all of whom were released by their counties, although Morgan could only play in the second match against Scotland. Bray and White could not play in the first match against Denmark, and Bray could not play against Italy due to work. The final choice fell to K Carroll, a 23 year-old opening batsman from Railway Union, who was scoring heavily in domestic cricket. This gave Railway three players in a International party, something unique for them. Five teams contested the Championship. ECB would not finance the entry of England (the holders) and Italy had qualified to take their place. Ireland had won the first Championship in Denmark in 1996 and had near misses in 2002 and 2004.

Ireland had only 12 players available for the first match against Denmark at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow and Rankin was left out. Carroll was given his first cap. He, N O'Brien, wicketkeeper, and Langford-Smith replaced Bray, White and Wilson from the team which had played Somerset. The pitch was slightly damp after rain a few days before the match and turned out to be seamer friendly. FA Klokker, an experienced player, captained Denmark and kept wicket. They also included Z Shan from the recent under-19 tournament.

The Irish innings, after they were sent in, had several definitive stages. Carroll was out for nought at 10 but Ireland arrived in the 22nd over at 102-2. This fell away to 147-6 and to 173-9, a precarious position, after 36 overs. Then, in 10 overs, Langford-Smith and P Mooney put on 36 to reach 209, a total which Ireland felt they could defend in view of recent results against Denmark.

Two young left-handers started for Ireland. Carroll was 23 and Porterfield 21. T Hansen, fast left-arm, opened the bowling. Porterfield took a single on the second ball and Carroll played out the last four. The next ball he faced, in T Hansen's second over, had him lbw as he moved inwards. 10-1-0. Botha came in and saw Porterfield snick H Hansen for four before pulling T Hansen for six in the seventh over. 50 was up after nine overs. Borchersen, medium right arm, replaced H Hansen for over 12 and Botha pulled his first ball for four. Botha was out in T Hansen's next over, the 13th. He nibbled and was caught at the wicket. 67-2-23. The 57 put on for this wicket turned out to be the highest stand by a margin of 21 runs. N O'Brien was the fourth left-hander in the first four. After bowling one ball of his second over Borchersen went down with a damaged leg in attempting to bowl his second ball. Z Shah, medium pace, finished the over in which O'Brien scored an all run 4. All went well in the next six overs with 100 coming up in over 20. T Hansen bowled his 10 overs, 2-36, and was replaced by the off-spin of Malcolm-Hansen. He bowled a maiden to O'Brien but the latter was out in Shah's next over, the 22nd. He played a wild cut shot and was Klokker's second victim. 102-3-15. Gillespie was next but lost Porterfield in over 24. He became Klokker's third victim when he hung out his bat at Shah in an attempt to run one down to third man. 107-4-42. Porterfield faced 64 balls for his 42 with only one four. No other Irish batsman reached 30.

K O'Brien joined Gillespie and they put on 36 in only 32 balls, Malcolm-Hansen and Shah continuing to bowl in tandem. Three sixes were hit. O'Brien hit one to square leg off Malcolm-Hansen. Then, in the next over, the 28th, Gillespie hit Shah for successive sixes, one straight and one to wide mid-wicket. O'Brien's six was his last scoring shot. In over 29 O'Brien pushed out at Malcolm-Hansen, lifted his foot and was stumped. 143-5-9. Johnston late cut his third ball for four but lost Gillespie to the first ball of the next over, the 30th. Kanaiya, another medium pacer, came on for this over and Gillespie pushed his first ball to short mid-wicket. 147-6-28. This 28 came in 26 balls with one six and two fours. McCallan then joined his captain and the 30 overs score was 152. However, with six out it was unlikely that this score could be doubled. In fact, the innings only lasted 15 more overs from which 57 runs were scored.

Kanaiya could only bowl two overs before he, too, had to pull up lame. In over 33 Johnston moved back to pull Malcolm-Hansen but found a fielder at short mid-wicket. It was a very poor shot. 161-7-8. J Mooney came in to join McCallan. M Pedersen, another off-spinner and the seventh bowler used, came on for Kanaiya. Two wickets fell at the same score in his second over. McCallan attempted a pull which went up very high to give square leg a good catch. 173-8-15. J Mooney had crossed when the ball was in the air. He was now joined by D Langford-Smith. Three balls later Mooney called a bad run to mid-on, which Langford-Smith refused and Mooney could not get back. 173-9-7. P Mooney joined Langford-Smith. The innings lasted another 58 balls with each batsmen facing 29 of them. 22 of these runs came in singles as the pair tried to bat out the 97 balls available to them. Langford-Smith indeed hit Pedersen for fours off successive balls to extra cover and third man in over 39. H Hansen returned for four overs at the end and Langford-Smith hit a straight four in his second over. The innings ended in over 46 when Mooney gave wicket-keeper Klokker his fourth catch, from the second ball of Shah's ninth over.

It was not a great batting display but there was a feeling that 209 might be enough against Denmark, and so it proved by 99 runs with the Danish innings closing in over 33. Denmark used seven bowlers but two, due to injury, only bowled a total of three overs. Z Shah had three wickets for 45 and T Hansen and Malcolm-Hansen each bowled 10 overs and took two wickets.

Denmark began their reply at 2.45 p.m. and were in trouble from the start, being 10-3. Only the ninth wicket managed a stand of consequence, 41 being put on by C Pedersen and the injured Kanaiya who had a runner. Kanaiya managed 11 but the shining star was C Pedersen who was left 65 not out from 85 balls and was given the Man-of-the-Match Award. He hit 8 of Denmark's 12 fours. The third highest score was six! In 33 overs Ireland used no less than seven bowlers of whom six took at least one wicket. The only flaw was two dropped slip catches early on.

Klokker and Shah opened to the bowling of Johnston and Langford-Smith. At two, in the first over, Carroll dropped Shah, high up at third slip. In the second over Langford-Smith had Klokker lbw. 3-1-1. M Pedersen came in and in Johnston's second over K O'Brien at second slip dropped a hard chance to his left from Shah. Shah square cut Langford-Smith for a four in the latter's second over but he was caught by Johnston at first slip four balls later. 9-2-5. Malcolm-Hansen was next but was out in Johnston's third over caught two handed at second slip by K O'Brien. 10-3-1. Now came C Pedersen and he stayed until the end scoring 65 of the 100 runs scored while he was at the wicket. The two Pedersens lasted seven overs and put on 19, both hitting fours. Botha replaced Johnston for the 11th over but it was Langford-Smith who took the fourth wicket in over 12. He yorked M Pedersen with a slower ball. 29-4-6.

B Singh joined C Pedersen who hit two fours in this stand of 11. Then N O'Brien took a good catch, standing up to the wicket for Botha, to dismiss Singh. 40-5-2 in the 15th over. Muller came and went in Botha's next over, pushing a catch to short mid-one. 52-6-6. For over 18 J Mooney replaced Langford-Smith, who had taken 3-27 in eight overs. It was Mooney who got the next wicket in his second over. T Hansen got a lifter and was caught at the wicket. 57-7-1. H Hansen was next. His stand with Pedersen lasted 21 balls for 12 runs but Hansen did not score.

K O'Brien came on for over 21 at 63. As is his wont, he gave away a boundary wide but had Hansen caught by his brother in the second over. It was a good catch diving low to the right. 69-8-0. Kanaiya arrived with a runner and saw Pedersen to his 50 in over 27. Pedersen faced 70 balls and hit six fours which were off-drives and square-cuts. A run-out was missed when the non striker, Pedersen, was sent back. Kanaiya managed a four himself off J Mooney. P Mooney and McCallan came on and Pedersen took 11 of Mooney's second over to bring up 107 after over 31. The end came in over 33 when Kanaiya was caught by Botha at slip, attempting a cut. The injured Borchersen did not bat leaving Pedersen 65 not out in 85 balls with eight fours. He well deserved the Man-of-the-Match Award. The next best score was Kanaiya's 11 and Pedersen got 23 more than Ireland's best scorer, Porterfield's 42.

Langford-Smith bowled the most overs for Ireland, eight, and took three of the first four wickets for 27 runs. It was a quick match, finishing at 5 p.m.