The 5th International Youth Tournament was hosted by the Dutch Cricket Association at The Hague with the now customary seven teams, Bermuda, Canada, Netherlands, Denmark, England North, England South and Ireland taking part.
The 50-over games were played across three club venues, all on matting pitches with the now normal 10 over limit on bowlers.
Ireland sent one of the strongest Irish squads to compete in the event - there were seven future internationals: captain Alan Lewis, Michael Rea, Ross McCollum, Deryck Vincent, Jonathan Garth, Michael Shannon and Charlie McCrum.
It was a bounce-back performance from Ireland as they stormed back, winning their final four matches after two initial losses in the second of which, against England South, one of Ireland’s opening bowlers, Adam McClean was injured and took no further part in the tournament.
That run of victories included a famous win over England North and Ireland would finish joint second in the league table, missing out on a place in the Tournament Final only on a mathematical calculation.
Ireland had gone into their final match against Canada knowing that a ‘big’ win was a required to secure second place but in the end a rain interruption and a reduction in the overs made that impossible.
England South, Netherlands and Ireland all finished on eight points behind Denmark whose five wins guaranteed them a place in the Final Their opponents were decided by comparing their ‘cost of wickets taken’, with hosts the Netherlands pipping the other two contenders.
We are accustomed now to using nett run rate in such situations but that was not the case back in 1983 and the method used had an effect on the way games were played.
Sides batted to avoid losing wickets, the totals of sides batting first suffered as the thought of losing wickets chasing a few extra runs at the end was deemed not worth it. Similarly when batting second, sides opted for batting practice and to see out the fifty overs when they deemed the chase improbable.
No surprise then that ‘cost of wickets taken’ as a tie-breaker had a short shelf-life.
Deryck Vincent shared his impressions of the tournament:
“My recollection of tournament is that our bowling was excellent but the batting inconsistent. Kenny Boucher and Michael Shannon were outstanding with the ball.
Games were on coconut matting so perhaps we struggled a bit to bat on that. No idea if it's a tricky surface but Kenny and Michael were both very straight and consistent.
Beating England in a football match was another highlight of course bit having Robbie Dennison on our side helped a lot.
Opposition names that stand out; England coaches Graham Saville, Graham Gooch’s cousin and teammate at Essex was with the South and Bob Cottam, fast bowling guru, a bit of a coaching legend at that time. I remember they also had Stuart Fletcher, Mike Newell, Graham Rose and Tim Munton who was injured for a lot of the tournament but I remember him as a really good guy.
Denmark had Søren Henriksen who was very quick and played for Lancashire, both his sons Mads and Jonas have recently played for the Danish national side.
Roland Lefèbvre as one might have expected carried the Dutch team, who also had in their squad Joseph O’Neill who would later win the Booker Prize for “Netherland", and whose younger brother David played for Trinity and North Leinster.”
Alan Lewis was Ireland’s captain and has memories from both on and off the field of play.
“An excellent squad assembled for the eagerly anticipated “must be on” trip to Holland for the International Youth tournament in The Hague in 1983. Seven of the squad went on to play international cricket and when you think our best batsman at the time chose football instead of cricket – “Good choice Rab at least you made some money!” it could have been more. I also seem to remember that Peter O’Reilly may have been contracted with Warwickshire at the time and we did miss him.
Eighteen-year olds connotations of what a trip to Holland meant for fellas wet behind the ears was a sight to behold. Not helped I might add when we saw our accommodation which was a 5-star hotel with indoor swimming pool and sauna as part of the complex. No need for guessing where the peroxide blond current chairman of Cricket Ireland led the boys on day one - “Right lads follow me!” was the call.
All seemed calm until a bus load of Texan schoolgirls arrived and plunged into the pool! I was nominally the captain but I really had little or no control over nocturnal activity in those days, and how we played the quality of cricket we did, was beyond me really.
Looking back on the tournament we were pipped from getting to the final due to a margin of victory over Canada in the last game. Ironically it was the loss in the opening game to Denmark that was crucial. We batted nervously and then dropped vital catches to lose by 3 wickets.
I vividly remember saying two days prior to the start of the tournament that we needed to practise our catching as the grounds whilst beautiful, were surrounded by trees and it was difficult to pick up the red ball. No white ball then of course. The other factor was getting used to the coconut matting.
Bermuda were always characters with that calypso feel to them. I distinctly remember they had a 6’8” bowler who Graham Saville the England South coach crept up to in the hotel and said, “I assume you are the wicket keeper!!!” The other was a fella called Charlie Marshall, a super talented batter but who commentated on every ball he faced.
“That’s good, be watchful Charlie,” he would utter and then it was, “That’s too short and gloriously pulled away for four. That’s a great shot Charlie Marshall!!!” much to the chagrin of the bowler.
We waited for our chance and it wasn’t long in coming from Kenny Boucher as I remember him saying, “I am afraid that is too good for you Charlie Marshall,” as he left the stage with a childish grin on his face. Wonderful guy who is a hero in his own country, even now when I visit for rugby.
England North and South offered a different challenge – they had a swagger about themselves. Here we were pitching ourselves against fellas who we felt might go on to play county cricket and even for England. We were beaten by England South comfortably, even naively, yet England North who were perceived to be better, we beat handsomely with Rab and Rosco were imperious with the bat.
I must confess I had little to contribute by way of runs or wickets on the trip, but overall, I remember a memorable trip where team camaraderie was fantastic.
July 19. Denmark v Ireland at HBS. Denmark won by 3 wickets.
Ireland, having been put in, got off to a good start and put on 88 before M. Rea (37) was out trying to force the pace. C. McCrum (50) soon followed. Yet, at lunch, Ireland seemed well placed at 120 for 2 with 18 overs remaining. Two wickets fell immediately after lunch and a short stand between R. McCollum and J. Garth took the score to 150 before Garth (18) was bowled. The Danish fast bowler Henriksen (4/25), who plays for the senior Danish XI came back and wiped out the tail, McCollum (30*) being left without a partner with 4 overs remaining.
Ireland made an early breakthrough and had Denmark 32 for 2 but a good stand by J. Jensen (37) and Fron took the score to 101. Jansen (70) continued to bat well and took the score to 133 before being fifth out. Despite the best efforts of bowlers and fielders the Danish middle order kept up the required run rate and won in the last over with three wickets in hand. The match was lost due to the middle order batting collapse and the putting down of two catches at vital stages of the games.
July 20. Ireland v England South at Quick. England won by 48 runs.
England won the toss and batted and lost two early wickets for 8 runs. R. Mason (59) anchored the English innings and by lunch they had accumulated 100 for 5 of 38 overs. After lunch, they steadily increased the scoring rate and thanks to a good innings by P. Robinson (39*), they reached a total of 172 for 7. Ireland gave a poor batting performance in reply and only reached a total of 127 thanks to a first class innings of 61 by opening bat M. Rea, who unnecessarily gave up his wicket trying to force the pace. A. McClean got injured in this match while batting and took no further part in the tournament.
July 21. Ireland v Netherlands at Quick. Ireland won by 9 wickets.
Ireland lost the toss and took the field short a regular bowler and knowing that they had to win to have any chance in the tournament. The team rose to the occasion magnificently and gave a first class bowling and fielding display bowling out Netherlands, who had won their three previous matches, for 108. All the bowlers performed well, especially K. Boucher who bowled 10 overs for 6 runs taking 2 wickets. The Irish openers took the score to 58 before McCrum (29) was bowled. Rea (36*) and Dennison (35*) saw Ireland home by 9 wickets in the 28th over.
July 22. Bermuda v Ireland at H.C.C. Ireland won by 3 wickets.
This match was delayed due to a tear in the mat and played on a smaller reserve ground and reduced to 40 overs per side. Bermuda won the toss and batted. Good bowling and fielding confined Bermuda to 107 all out. J. Garth (3 for 17) and K. Boucher (4 for 33) were the best of the bowlers. Ireland made a disastrous start and found themselves 45 for 6, but thanks to a magnificent fighting innings by R. McCollum (59) and an equally important uncharacteristic knock by J. Wolfe (10*) who held one end, the game was turned around in Ireland’s favour. McCollum was caught on the boundary with victory in sight and it was left to Boucher to end the match with a 6.
July 23. England North v Ireland at HBS. Ireland won by 6 wickets.
England North won the toss and batted and made a steady start, reaching 97 by lunch. After lunch, Shaw (52) and Smith (55*) plundered the Irish attack during which time the fielding and catching failed to take the pressure and England ended with 219 for 6. The poor performance in the field made the players more determined to make a match of it against England.
A poor start was made losing Rea at a total of 5 and Lewis at 30. However, McCrum and Dennison took the score to 74 when McCrum (38) was bowled. McCollum now joined Dennison and the pair gave a first class batting display putting on 140 for the 3rd wicket. Dennison showed all his class while McCollum rode his luck between some magnificent hits. McCollum (64) was finally out, caught on the boundary, with the score on 214 going for the winning hit. Dennison (84*) hit 8 fours and 2 sixes in a magnificent innings in which he never gave a chance.
July 24. Ireland v Canada at HCC. Ireland won by 2 wickets.
Ireland entered this match knowing they had to bowl Canada out for a low score and win by a wide margin to reach the final. The match was delayed by rain with a reduction in the overs. Lewis at last won a toss and put Canada in. It was soon evident that six matches in six days was having its effect, especially on the bowlers, who with the exception of Shannon (2/20), were unable to contain the batsmen and Canada reached 169 for 6 off their 41 overs mainly due to Erwaroo (53*).
Ireland made a poor start in reply with only Rea of the early batsmen getting his head down, the others got themselves out to poor shots. When Rea (31) fell trying to raise the run rate, Ireland were 72 for 6 and well behind on run rate. Wolfe (57*) after a shaky start, and having almost been decapitated by a bouncer, called for a helmet and took on the fast bowlers and proceeded to hit them all over the ground, much to the delight of the local spectators. During this period, he received excellent support from Vincent (25) and Bruce (10*) and saw Ireland home by two wickets with one over remaining. A match which appeared lost was won by a fighting individual performance, but Ireland lost out to Netherlands for a place in the final.
- Batting: Roland Lefèbvre (Netherlands)
- Bowling: Søren Henriksen (Denmark)
- Fielding/Wicketkeeping: Marc Bakker (Netherlands)
- Allrounder: Derick Etwaroo (Canada)
- Personality Prize: Darren Burchall (Bermuda)
- Alan Lewis (South Leinster) captain
- Ken Boucher (Ulster Town)
- Michael Bruce (North West)
- Robbie Dennison (Ulster Country)
- Jonathan Garth (South Leinster)
- Adam McClean (Ulster Town)
- Ross McCollum (Ulster Country)
- Charlie McCrum (Ulster Country)
- Séamus O’Gorman (North Leinster)
- Michael Rea (Ulster Town)
- Michael Shannon (Ulster Town)
- Deryck Vincent (North Leinster)
- John Wolfe (Munster)