Dean dominates in emphatic English victory
For the second Triple Crown Tournament hosted by Scotland from the 20th to 22nd July, Ireland selected a 13-strong party. For their opening game against England Amateur in Glasgow, Rea and Doak were omitted from the squad.
- A Lewis (capt)
- J Benson
- G Cooke
- U Graham
- G Harrison
- C Hoey
- B Millar
- E Moore
- NV Rao
- M Rea
- S Smyth
- S Warke
The holders, England Amateur, made a convincing first defence. The victory margin of nine wickets with more than seven overs to spare was as emphatic in reality as it is on paper as the six Irish bowlers attempted to defend their innings of 212 from their 55 overs on the flat Hamilton Crescent wicket. Steve Dean, the Staffordshire opener, scored the first century of the competition. He was 130 not out when his captain, Malcom Roberts, hit the winning run and that was more than any Irish player scored in all three games in England last year. The top scorer then was Michael Rea When Rea's replacement opener, Stephen Smyth, was dismissed caught behind, it looked, at 42 for 3, as if Ireland needed the extra batsman.
A stand of 87 between Lewis and Benson should have put Ireland back on course for the 250 total which always looked necessary to give the bowlers a chance but there was no acceleration throughout the partnership which lasted 29 overs and it needed 25 off the last three overs from Bobby Rao and Gordon Cooke to get through the 200 barrier.
An early breakthrough was essential but, when Conor Hoey failed to get his man, the heads visibly dropped. Hoey had been brought in to plot the downfall of Dean for the second successive year, but the leg spinner had no joy in his first six overs and by the time he returned, immediately after tea, to complete his 11 over stint the opener was on 62 having already hit three sixes and two fours. Hoey did take the wicket of Dean's opening partner Stuart Waterton, albeit after a partnership of 120, and Hoey was, by some distance, Ireland's best and most economical bowler of the day.
Eddie Moore recovered well after conceding 13, including a Dean six, in his first two overs and Graham started brightly but suffered in the onslaught. Cooke looked a tired young bowler by the end. Rao and Harrison conceded 90 off just 14 overs as Dean finished with 12 boundaries, half of them clearing the fence. His only semblance of a chance came when he was on 55 and Smyth got a hand to a pull at backward square leg in Rao's first over.
Benson was at his impressive best getting to 50 but threw his wicket away immediately afterwards with an ugly shot. Lewis, much slower than Benson, then fell in the attempt to improve the run rate, caught at long-on and Harrison, sent back by Rao was run out at the third attempt. The Man of the Match Award went to S. D. Dean. During Ireland's innings, umpire Brown was struck on the leg by a shot from Justin Benson and was forced to retire at the lunch interval, being replaced by M Wylie. In the other first round match Wales beat Scotland.
Irish losses in Edinburgh continue
When Ireland arrived in Edinburgh for their 2nd match of the Triple Crown Tournament they must have been aware that history was against them in that they had never won a match there since their first attempt in 1888. Early morning drizzle meant that play could not commence until after lunch and the match was reduced to a 46 overs per side game.
At no stage did Ireland ever play themselves into a winning position as the bowlers disappointly surrendered the initiative after Alan Lewis won the toss and put their hosts into bat. Gordon Cooke was the pick of the Irish bowlers and deserved the only wicket in the first 28 overs. A second wicket stand of 48 put Scotland in control and even after losing five wickets for seven runs in 14 balls the ninth-wicket pairing of David Haggo and Ian Bevenput on 30 in the last four overs.
That left Ireland chasing 199 to win. Stephen Smyth, again opening the batting in an unchanged team, dominated the strike and the scoring in his stand with Stephen Warke before he was controversially given run out by former first class umpire Jackie van Geloven.
Words were exchanged immediately following the decision and, not content with giving him out, the Umpire then pointed the finger at Smyth all the way back to the pavilion. Alan Lewis promoted himself to No.3 but was caught behind for just three. Then Justin Benson found another horrible way to get out when he was bowled attempting a reverse sweep. Bobby Rao followed six overs later to leave Ireland at 94 for 4 in the 28th over. Warke, in his 99th game for Ireland, was back to somewhere near his steady best, but with few runs coming at the other end, he also had to play one rash shot too many and was caught for 55 out of 121 despite having faced only 85 of the first 210 balls bowled. Garfield Harrison was run out for the second successive day and only Cooke threatened to hurry Ireland within sight of victory but even his luck had to run out literally, his first dismissal in his third international appearance.
Scottish captain, Alistair Storie was named Man of the Match for filling in as an emergency fifth bowler when opener Kevin Thomson was injured, but primarily for his rearguard innings of 67 off 102 balls with only two boundaries. Harrison was the one bowler to be given ten overs, but he needed the assistance of Van Gelovan for both his wickets, although Alan Lewis deprived him of a third with a dropped catch. Conor Hoey again bowled steadily and like Eddie Moore was fortunate to be bowling when Scotland's dramatic collapse was in full flow.
Warke celebrates ton in style
Back in Glasgow for the third game in the Triple Crown Tournment it was always going to be Stephen Warke's day. In his 100th international appearance, Warke missed out by only five runs runs from the century he so richly deserved to celebrate his greatest day. It was still his best-ever score in a one day game and the fact that his innings ensured that Ireland were able to sign off a generally disappointing season with a victory will give him considerable pleasure.
Ireland's imposing total of 311 for 5 was their highest in a limited overs match, but on an excellent Titwood wicket they still had only 15 runs to spare when Wales were bowled out off the first ball of the last over. Ireland's win ensured them a share of third place after a tournament when five of the six results were a reversal of the inaugural competition.
Warke's record breaking day - he also passed 4000 runs in his 137th innings for Ireland - may have stolen the headlines, but Michael Rea, recalled for this match in place of Moore, scored 87 off 96 balls in Ireland's opening partnership of 174 in 35 overs which is a record for any wicket in limited over cricket. When a fifth Irish century seemed inevitable for Warke he played a short lifting ball straight to the gully, where Andy Puddle, his adversary at opposing skipper on previous occasions, muted the celebrations. His 95 had come off 140 balls faced and included eight boundaries.
The rest of the batting took its cue from Warke and never let Wales off the hook. Stephen Smyth scored 43 off 42 with two sixes and a four and Justin Benson scored his second fifty of the week off 42 balls to achieve 100 runs in his first Triple Crown. Ireland's total of 311 is their highest ever in a Limited Over Match. The Man of the Match award went to Uel Graham who finished with 4 for 49 off his eleven overs and including a spell of three wickets in 14 balls just before the tea interval. Before arriving at Titwood he had bowled 14 overs for 70 and he was Ireland's most successful wicket-taker in the Tournament.