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Match Report
Derek Scott

The new captain, Porterfield, did his first job well. He won the toss and send Notts in. The Friends Provident Trophy format had changed for 2008. Ireland were in a Midlands section with Leicester, Notts Northants and Warwick. Unlike 2007 each county had to be played home and away, making eight matches in all. This match was the first and the start was as late as 12 noon with only a 30 minute interval. The day was chilly. The Sky cameras were here for the match, as they had been for our opening match against Hampshire two years ago.

It was the third match Ireland had played against Notts. There was a drawn two-day match at College Park in 1950 and an eight wicket defeat in 2002 at Castle Avenue in a third-round Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy Match. C.M. Read, former England wicketkeeper, is the only Notts survivor from 2002 and he is now Captain. In 2008 Notts imported Voges from Western Australia and Broad, the current England fast bowler, from Leicestershire. For Ireland only White and McCallan played in the 2002 match. However, there were five changes since the last match which was against Bangladesh in March. Out went Johnston, Langford-Smith, Niall O'Brien, Thomson and Morgan. Wilson, now with Surrey, was recalled as wicket-keeper. Stirling got his second chance and his first at home. White and Fourie returned for Johnston and Langford-Smith and a first cap was given to Philip Eaglestone, the left arm seam bowler from Strabane, who had been born in England. He had been prominent at under 19 level. He and O'Brien gave Ireland a great start. Notts were soon at 19-3. The pitch at Castle Avenue was certainly "doing" a little, particularly latterly, and this was well exploited by Ireland.

The very tall Jefferson (the tallest player in County Cricket) opened with Shafayat for Notts. New cap Eaglestone bowled the first over. He bowled left arm over the wicket and was clearly medium pace. The first over produced six runs including two wides. O'Brien's fourth ball checked back at Shafayat for an LBW decision, easy for umpire Bailey. 6-1-0. Wagh came in and played out the last two balls of O'Brien's first over. Eaglestone then bowled a maiden. O'Brien then bowled a maiden at Wagh but the last ball came back a lot. Wagh left it and was bowled. 6-2-0. Voges was next. In the fifth over Eaglestone had a big LBW shout against Jefferson and after this over Notts had only scored nine. The first four came in the sixth over when Voges hit O'Brien to long-on. The ninth over gave Eaglestone his first wicket and Ireland's third with only 19 on the board. The ball left Jefferson off the pitch and he snicked it to Wilson. 19-3-7. What a great start! However, it was the end of Irish success for 23 overs. Patel joined Voges in an 88 run stand for the fourth wicket. The stand started slowly. Cusack replaced Eaglestone for over 11. After 15 overs the score was 33 and six maidens had been bowled - four by O'Brien who came off after bowling eight overs for 14 runs and two wickets. Fourie, at medium pace, replaced him. Voges pulled Cusack off the last ball of the 19th over to bring up the 50.

Cusack bowled six overs for 20. Then Eaglestone came back for one over (which cost seven runs). He was replaced by Fourie changing ends and McCallan began a straight 10 overs starting with the 24th over. The 25 over (halfway) score was 79 and only seven fours had been hit. There was a bit of a flurry in the next five overs. 26 runs were scored so that after over 30 the score was 105. In over 30 12 runs came with a six to wide long-on by Voges off McCallan. In the previous over, bowled by Fourie, Voges went to 50 in 77 balls, and a 50 stand came in 16 overs.

Cusack replaced Fourie for over 31 and the fourth wicket fell to McCallan in over 32. Voges was LBW for 60 off 84 balls, containing one six and six fours. 107-4-60. Read, the Notts captain, was next. He got off the mark with a snicked four off Cusack, who after two overs gave way to Fourie who began a third spell by having Patel LBW to a ball which kept low. It was the third LBW in the five wickets which had fallen. 113-5-28. Patel had been in for 26 overs for his 28, which contained two fours.

Swann, who had played Test cricket as an off-spinner, joined Read and they had a brisk stand of 40 in 41 balls. There were a lot of singles but also four fours and a six over long-on by Read off Fourie which lost the ball. In the next over, at 133, Swann skied behind the wicket-keeper but the ball fell safely between two fielders. Eaglestone returned and bowled a maiden. The 40 over score was 143. Could Ireland break through and get Notts out for less than 200? in this regard they made a good start. The last ball of over 41, bowled by Eaglestone, saw Swann out to a brilliant catch by Strydom at deep mid-wicket. He took the ball running from right to left. 153-6-21.

Ealham, a very dangerous late order batsman, was next. He lived up to his reputation. When McCallan was bowled out (10-0-43-1) Fourie replaced him for over 44. Ealham hit his fourth ball for six to mid-wicket. Two overs later he did the same, this time to deep square leg. Three balls later Eaglestone dropped Read, when he was 28 and the total 184, at deep extra cover. A single was taken. Next ball Ealham hit straight to O'Brien at long-on who took the catch without having to move. 183-7-21.

Broad joined his captain. After over 46 Fourie was bowled out (10-1-49-2). He was replaced for over 48 by O'Brien. Read hit successive balls for four and six to bring up 200. The fifth ball had Broad caught at mid-off by Fourie moving to his left. 204-8-6. Sidebottom, the hero of England's bowling attack in the last year, came next. He hit Cusack for a four to fine leg in over 49. With three balls left O'Brien had Read caught by Botha at short mid-wicket. 216-9-45. Read had faced 52 balls and hit two sixes and five fours. Shreck got a single to make the final score 217. The Irish bowling analysis had a neat look about it. Five bowlers bowled 10 overs each, and no less than eight maidens were bowled. O'Brien bowled four of these and took 4-31. Cusack went for 39 runs but the other three bowlers were all over 40. The fielding was excellent with only one blemish.

At 3:45 p.m. Porterfield and Strydom began for Ireland to the bowling of Sidebottom and Cornishman Shreck who had been at Notts for five years. The rate required was a reasonable one of just over four runs per over but Ireland never came to grips with that rate. Furthermore, in over 23 the 5th wicket fell with only 60 on the board. White and Cusack then produced a 46 run stand in 10 overs, the only stand over 26 in the innings. The end came in over 46, still 56 runs short of the Notts total.

Porterfield hit Sidebottom's fourth and sixth balls for fours to wide long-off and mid-wicket. Shreck's second and Sidebottom's third overs were maidens. In Sidebottom's fourth over he bowled two wides, was snicked for four by Porterfield, and the latter was caught at third slip off the last ball. 26-1-15. Stirling came in at number three and faced 11 balls without scoring. He batted the 11th ball, which came in Shreck's fifth over, gently to mid-on. 30-2-0. Botha then joined Strydom and a slow small stand developed. In eight overs 23 runs were scored of which Botha made 17, with two fours. The 10 overs score was 34. Broad replaced Sidebottom for over 13 and Strydom, when eight, was dropped at second slip off Broad's fifth ball with the score at 37.

Ealham, at medium pace, replacing Shreck for over 18 was the next wicket-taker. His second ball had Strydom LBW. 53-3-9. The 50 had gone up in the previous over. O'Brien joined Botha. The stand lasted 14 balls of which O'Brien faced 12. He was caught at the wicket in Ealham's second over, wafting aimlessly. 55-4-0. White came in and ultimately was the highest scorer and the only Irish batsman to reach 30. Broad entered the wicket takers in the 23rd over, his sixth. Botha nibbled badly and he, too, was caught at the wicket by Read. 60-5-21. Cusack now joined White and the best stand ensued, 46 in 58 balls. After four overs Ealham had 2-6 but Cusack took two fours in Ealham's fifth over even if one was a snick. White emulated his partner in Ealham's six over. This led to Sidebottom replacing Broad for two overs and offspinner Swann was on for Ealham for over 30. The 30 over score was 95-5. Then Patel, slow left arm, was tried for Sidebottom. 100 came up in Patel's first over, the 31st, but the first ball of his second over produced another nibble, by Cusack, and a third catch for Read. 106-6-20.

Wilson, who had scored 58 for Surrey at Leicester, came in and hit a two and swept a four off his first four balls. The stand with White produced 20 in 19 balls. In over 36, bowled by Swann, White got a reverse sweep four. Next ball a single was attempted but White was run out by a direct hit on the bowlers wicket. 126-7-30. White faced 42 balls and hit four fours, the most by any Irish batsmen. McCallan dug in with Wilson. In 33 balls the added 18, 14 in singles. Wilson was nearly run out early on calling a dubious single. He was sent back but had to dive in.

Ealham returned for over 39 and took the next wicket in his second over back, the 41st. Wilson played to leg and was LBW. 144-8-14. Fourie came in and collected four singles in 11 balls. He then gave Ealham his fourth wicket in over 45. Fourie was bowled. 158-9-4. The end came in Swann's ninth over, the 46th, when Eaglestone was bowled by Swann. This left McCallan 20 not out off 30 balls, his third not out in four innings in 2008 and his 28 not out in 153 innings in his career.

It was not a great Irish batting performance, but at least it can be said that 10 of the 11 reached double figures. Notts used six bowlers. Five of them took a wicket each, but Ealham took 4-39 and was the only one to bowl 10 overs. Broad's seven overs were impressive, 1-17.

Castle Avenue, Clontarf