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Match Report
Ian Callender, Richard Gillis

Ireland's second match this year in the Friend's Provident was against Somerset. There were two changes to the team which lost to Kent. Niall O'Brien returned the day after the Kent game to Northants and was not available for this match. He was replaced as wicket-keeper by Gary Wilson, who is under contract to Surrey. O'Brien and Eoin Morgan, who played today for Middlesex in this competition, now cannot play for Ireland in the Friend's Provident this season. Also Ireland had at last signed up a non-qualified player in Nantie Hayward, South African pace bowler. To accommodate him John Mooney dropped out of the team. Mooney and Kenny Carroll made up the squad of 13 for this match and one tomorrow on Bank Holiday Monday against Hampshire.

Report by Ian Callender, Belfast Telegraph.

Gary Wilson scored his first half century for Ireland but that was the only positive on another day which proved the size of the task new coach Phil Simmons has to maintain the momentum from their World Cup adventure. Somerset scored 341, including a masterful 132 from retired Australia Test batsman Justin Langer - the highest total against Ireland in a 50 overs match for 10 years - and then bowled out their 10-man opposition for 213.

The missing Ireland batsman was Andre Botha who dislocated a finger fielding a return drive from Ian Blackwell - it still went for four - and an x-ray revealed damaged tendons which will keep him out for two to three weeks; the Intercontinental Cup final against Canada in Leicester starts in 15 days time. The injury happened in the 45th over and, as the all rounder was immediately rushed off the field by Ireland physio Iain Knox, Ireland were again without their best 'death bowler' for the last 32 balls of the innings. Thanks to Nantie Hayward, Ireland's South African overseas professional, they cost just 53 runs but the damage had already been done and the bowling figures do not make pretty reading.

Dave Langford-Smith's last over cost only seven runs but it took him, embarrassingly, into the 90s while Trent Johnston, who finished Botha's over to leave him four balls short of his full quota still conceded 68. Even Hayward went for 60 on his Ireland debut but three wickets gave him some respectability. For the second successive week, and not for the first time this year, it was the lower order which gave credibility to the batting card.

William Porterfield was dismissed first ball, to an away swinger, Kevin O'Brien, promoted to No 3 in the absence of Botha, played across a straight one and Jeremy Bray after crashing five boundaries missed a slower ball and lost his middle stump. Peter Gillespie, after just one appearance in the World Cup, was given his reins at No 4 and responded with a fluent 32 from 54 balls. Disappointingly, having been intimidated by Steffan Jones, he chopped a short one from the same bowler straight to backward point.

After doing the hard work and getting started, Andrew White was caught at deep square and Trent Johnston was leg before third ball to leave Ireland on 102 for six. Admittedly Somerset took the pressure off - former England opening bowler Andy Caddick did not bowl - but Gary Wilson, on his first appearance since last August, took on the attack and was rewarded with his first Ireland 50 from 63 balls with six fours. Kyle McCallan seems to be back to form and, without anyone noticing, he had hit five boundaries in a 27-ball 34 and then Dave Langford-Smith clubbed four sixes in his Ireland-best 39. But with Botha unable to bat, once again there was an air of inevitability about Ireland's vain run-chase. Charl Willoughby, Somerset's South Africa Test bowler, took the last two wickets with successive balls to finish with five for 33.

Earlier, the Somerset batting star was their captain, Justin Langer. The retired Australia Test batsman made his highest county score in one-day cricket in an impressive innings when he blazed away with 10 fours in his first 50 runs and then, content to take the ones and twos with sublime placement, he reached his century in 110 balls with just two more boundaries.

Langer finished on 132, just 14 short of his previous best in one-day cricket, but he was upstaged in the entertainment stakes by Cameron White, James Hildreth and Ian Blackwell who scored 135 runs between them from 109 balls as the Ireland bowlers were put to the sword.

Hayward bowled fast but his first two victims were caught at deep mid-wicket and his other at short cover, hardly the classic positions for a pace bowler but if they inspire him to a golden spell today against Hampshire, no one in the Ireland camp will be complaining. John Mooney will replace Botha and there must be a chance that Kenny Carroll will again be named 12th man. And not only will Shane Warne lead Hampshire but Kevin Pietersen and Australia World Cup bowler Stuart Clark also play.

Report by Richard Gillis in Irish Times 7th May 2007.

Ireland lost by 128 runs to Somerset yesterday and face a battle to regroup ahead of today's match against Hampshire in the Friends Provident Trophy at the Rosebowl in Southampton. They were dealt a further blow with the news that Andre Botha would be sidelined for up to three weeks after dislocating a finger.

The 341 total is the third-highest score conceded by Ireland in a 50-over game. The record is 359 for 7 scored by Essex in 1998 at Chelmsford. Kyle McCallan is the only Ireland player to have played in both games.

Runs are something of a devalued currency here in Taunton. There have been 14 centuries scored in two County championship games this season, including two doubles and a treble. Last week Derbyshire scored over 800.

The first ball bowled by Ireland's new overseas professional Nantie Hayward was a leg-stump yorker to Justin Langer, who survived a very good lbw shout. The next time the little Australian batsmen showed any hint of vulnerability was 140 deliveries later when he was bowled by Dave Langford-Smith for 132. It was his highest one-day score for his adopted county, compiled by stealth with neat, nimble strokes both sides of the wicket. From such a stable base, the other Somerset players were given licence to blast; an order they took to with relish. In the shadow of the Ian Botham Stand, Marcus Trescothick looked in the mood to repeat the hundred he scored the last time he faced Ireland, in England colours at Stormont last summer. Flashing cover drives and short-arm pulls lit up the first half-hour. It was a reminder of what England had been missing. He went caught behind off Langford-Smith by Gary Wilson, keeping wicket in place of Niall O'Brien, on duty for Northants

Australian Cameron White peppered the stand at the Old Pavilion end with three sixes and four fours, before being caught by his namesake, Andrew, on the deep-mid-wicket boundary. Langford-Smith and Hayward took three wickets each, but both came at a cost. Langford-Smith went for 91 runs in his 10 overs and Hayward conceded 60. Ian Blackwell is one of the hardest hitters of a ball in the county game, a fact to which Andre Botha can testify. Botha stuck out his right hand to a crunching straight drive off his own bowling and, having clipped his forefinger, the ball raced to the straight boundary. Botha dislocated a finger on his bowling hand and suffered damaged tendons, which could keep him out of action for a sizeable portion of the campaign. It also raises doubts as to his fitness from the final of the Intercontinental Cup against Canada, which starts on May 22 in Leicestershire. Ireland face an uphill task to remain competitive.

For a team to chase 341, an innings of substance is required from one of the top four. On this pitch, that means something well over 100. It didn't start well. William Porterfield went first ball, caught behind. Jeremy Bray played well for his 27, punishing the square boundary with some characteristically robust square cuts. He went tamely, bowled playing early to a good-length ball from the South African left armer, Willoughby. Peter Gillespie bustled along for 32, supported by Andrew White and Kevin O'Brien. Wickets fell too quickly for momentum to build. Gary Wilson's first 50 for Ireland came in 58 balls, including six sweetly timed boundaries. McCallen played tidily before being run out by a direct hit, and by the time Trent Johnston went lbw for three, the score was 102 for six.

The late tallies of Wilson and Langford-Smith rescued some respectability. One of the latter's four sixes went over the stand at mid-wicket and onto the roof of the old printing works. It was Somerset, however, who produced the last word.