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Match Report
Derek Scott

The first words of any description of this match must not be concerned with Ireland's defeat. The first words must be "hat-trick". Trent Johnston, the Irish captain, in his third over, the 18th of the match, did a hat trick. In 642 matches since 1855 Irish bowlers have only achieved two hat-tricks. This was the second. The first was in 1877 against I Zingari in a four-day match at Phoenix Cricket Club in Dublin. The bowler was Thomas Hugh Hanna, a 20-year-old from Ulster Cricket Club in Belfast, who was making his Irish debut. His bowling style was fast underarm. On the fourth morning I Zingari needed 31 to win with five wickets in hand. Ireland won by 23 runs when Hanna did an all bowled hat-trick to end the innings. His analysis was 20-12-12-4 and, in the match, 52-30-51-7. Those were the days of four ball overs. Hanna only played twice more, both away matches in 1879, his career over aged 22! He had taken 12 wickets at an average of 12.25 each.

Ireland's only win in this competition in 2006 (then called the Cheltenham and Gloucester Cup) was against Gloucestershire at Bristol. There was no repeat. It was Ireland's fourth match in the 2007 Trophy and was lost, like the other three. The loss was severe, Ireland only making 63 in reply to 248 but, at least, Gloucester had been bowled out.

Ireland made one change from the match against Hampshire three days before. A second overseas player was recruited. He is Jesse Ryder, a New Zealand, who bats well and bowls a little for Wellington who won the Plunkett Shield in 2005-2006 and for whom Ryder had batted very well. He is currently playing league cricket in England but is available on Sundays and Midweek. He had a poor debut replacing John Mooney.

It was cold and windy in Castle Avenue when Gloucester won the toss and batted on the usual slow pitch but with a little more bounce than usual. Kadir Ali and Fisher opened to Langford-Smith and Hayward. The former, much as usual, began with the wides - four of them! Hayward's first over was a maiden and he it was who took the first wicket in the sixth over. Fisher was yorked, middle and off, playing an airy shot. 17-1-8. The left-handed North, an overseas player previously with Derbyshire, came next. This stand lasted only 12 overs, put on 77, and was full of incident. North hit seven fours in the stand, three in one over off Hayward. Kadir Ali managed three fours and a "pick-up" six over mid-wicket in Langford-Smith's sixth and last over. 50 was up in over 11. In over 13, Ryder's first, North skied a four to wide third man and was dropped by Bray at silly point when 33 with the total on 75. He mishit a ball which lobbed to Bray but the latter had taken evasive action and could not grasp the ball.

The miss was not too expensive. Johnston bowled the 14th over which gave up two runs. His second over was a maiden and his third, the 18th, produced the long awaited second Irish hat-trick. The first two balls of this over were dots. The third ball saw Kadir Ali caught at the wicket. 94-2-28. The fourth had Taylor lbw on the back foot. 94-3-0. Enter Gloucester's captain, Gidman. He shouldered arms to the fifth ball which cut back and bowled him. 94-4-0.

Brown faced the over's last ball which very nearly produced four wickets in four balls. Brown waved at it without making contact.

After this North and Brown indulged in a period of consolidation. They put on 23 in nearly 10 overs. 100 came up in over 21. Johnson was treated with great respect, the batsmen taking only eight runs off his next four overs. O'Brien, bowling at the other end, gave up only 15 runs in his first five overs. In over 26, bowled by Johnston, there seemed to be a leg side drop by Wilson off Brown who was then six and the total 110. With a single off O'Brien, North reached 50, in 64 balls, with eight fours, in over 27 when the total was 117. In the next over Brown glanced and was caught on the leg side by Wilson to give Johnston a fourth wicket. 117-5-7. Hardinges, a native of Gloucester, was next and a good stand ensued with North. Hardinges began with two fours off O'Brien. Johnston was bowled out at over 32 with the remarkable analysis of 10-4-13-4. McCallan replaced him for over 34. North was lucky in over 35, bowled by O'Brien. A skier just evaded extra-cover running back. Then Hardinges hit two fours in O'Brien's ninth and last over (9-0-43-0) to bring up 150 in over 37, but North, 61, could have been dropped by Wilson in that over. Hayward replaced O'Brien for over 39 and Hardinges hit him for six over long-on.

North finally fell in over 42. He hit a "pick-up" shot off McCallan to deep square leg where White did not have to move to take the catch. 183-6-77. North's innings lasted 101 balls and contained 10 fours. Adshead, Gloucester's wicket-keeper, who had often played for ECB against Ireland, joined Hardinges and saw him dropped on the leg side by Wilson three balls later. Both players then attacked and there was a 51 run stand in only 33 balls. Hardinges hit sixes in successive overs off Langford-Smith and McCallan, both over long-off and the second brought up 200 in over 44. Next over Hardinges reached 50 (off 58 balls, with three sixes and four fours). Hayward was back on for over 47 and Hardinges might have been caught at third man by O'Brien off a ball that went for four. Next ball he was out, caught at short extra cover. 234-7-70. Hardinges had faced 67 balls, hit three sixes and seven fours. Adshead soon followed him in over 48. He was caught on the mid-wicket boundary off McCallan. 237-8-17. Noffke, a Queensland fast bowler and Gloucester's second overseas player, was next to go, again to Hayward with the last ball of his 10th over. He was caught by Ryder running in from long-on. 246-9-7. Rudge joined Carl Greenidge, son of Gordon, for the last over. With the last ball of the innings McCallan had Rudge caught at long-off by Carroll, who was fielding substitute. This was his fourth catch as a substitute fielder.

Ireland used six bowlers. The wicket-takers were Johnston, 4-13 in 10, Hayward, 3-61 in 10 and McCallan, 3-45 in nine. Langford-Smith, O'Brien and Ryder bowled a total of 21 overs for 130 runs. The Irish ground fielding continued to be excellent.

Starting at 3 p.m. the Irish reply was a disaster. It lasted only 21 overs for 63 runs although three batsmen reached double figures, but there were only three double figure stands, the best being 17. It was also the longest in terms of time lasting four overs.

Bray and Porterfield opened as usual to Rudge and Noffke, both fairly brisk. Porterfield was lbw to Noffke playing back in the fourth over. 6-1-4. Newcomer, Ryder played a weak stroke and was bowled by Noffke in over six. 12-2-1. Rudge joined the wicket-takers in over seven, having Bray lbw. 12-3-7. O'Brien was the third lbw victim in over nine, Rudge's second wicket. 19-4-1.

Gillespie and White managed a three over stand for 14 runs. 12 of the 14 came in fours, two to White, one to Gillespie. Then Noffke in over 12 took his third wicket, Gillespie being caught at the wicket. 33-5-10. Greenidge, medium pace, replaced Rudge (6-2-18-2) for over 13. His fourth ball had Wilson caught at second slip. 34-6-1. Johnston was next. He opened with two fours in Noffke's seventh over, one to extra cover and one straight off a full toss. Johnson hit another four in Greenidge's next over to long leg, to bring up the 50 in 15 overs. Gidman replaced Noffke (7-1-24-3) for over 16. In over 17 Taylor caught a brilliant overhead catch at cover off a square cut to dismiss White. 51-7-10. The best stand, amounting to 17, was over.

McCallan joined Johnston. In three overs 11 runs were added and Johnston, on 14, was dropped off Gidman. At 62 Gidman had McCallan caught low at the wicket. 62-8-2. In the 21st over Greenidge bowled Langford-Smith with the third ball and Hayward, who swung at everything, with the sixth ball. It was all over in 86 minutes and 63 was Ireland's lowest score since 1997 when, in a Nat West Trophy match at Headingly, Yorkshire bowled Ireland out for 53.

All four Gloucester bowlers had fancy figures. All took at least one wicket and four of the 21 overs were maidens. Johnston was left 22 not out at a run a ball with four fours, by 12 runs the highest score of the innings. His four fours came out of only nine struck in the match but 36 in boundaries is a good percentage of 63! This match should have been played in fact on Sunday the 22nd, but the Irish team did not arrive back from the World Cup in the West Indies until April 25. Gloucester had kindly agreed to postpone the match until May 10th.

Castle Avenue, Clontarf