Ireland hosted their Scottish counterparts for a three match ODI series from the 8th-12th September.
The opening match of the series was played in Malahide Cricket Club on Monday 8th September with Ireland winning the toss and selecting Scotland to bat first. Michael Leask was Scotland’s biggest threat as he hit 7 fours and a six on his way to 50 runs. Unfortunately for the visitors, that was as good as it got – as Ireland’s 24 year old debutant Craig Young was the home sides top wicket-taker as he took five for 46, which proved pivotal in Ireland limiting the Scots to 172 runs.
Ireland with their target now set, started slowly, losing John Anderson early to a LBW. The shaky start saw them revert to a safety first approach, as they looked to break into their stride – with Andrew Balbirnie hitting 38. However, it was Ireland stand in captain Kevin O’Brien who was unbeaten at 56 that ultimately proved to be the nail in the Scottish coffin as Ireland won comfortably in the end by 7 wickets. O’Brien’s tally saw him pass the 2,000 run milestone in ODI’s as he hit 7 fours and 1 six in Malahide.
The second test was again held in Malahide Cricket Club with a one day break between the two matches. Winning the toss, Ireland didn’t hesitate in choosing Scotland to bat first again – a call that seemed to pay off as Max Sorenson and Young were devastating for Ireland, as the Scotland could only register 48 for 5. However, Scotland’s Richie Berrington was proving to be tricky for the home side as he eased the visitors back in to the contest. Along the way, he shared a valuable 84 run partnership with Josh Davey before that was ended by Young. Berrington’s reign came to an end when he was run out for 101 – picking up 8 fours and a six along the way. Scotland closed on 221 in what was a much improved performance from the first test. Sorenson (4-40) and Young (3-39) were the pick of the attack for Ireland with John Mooney and O’Brien also contributing one wicket apiece. Ireland batted slowly once again, with Balbirnie (16) and John Anderson (12) undone by Davey.
That soon changed however as the ever reliable Kevin O’Brien, who was again deputising as captain in the absence of William Porterfield, and Andrew Poynter combined as the experienced duo added 68 before Poynter fell to Berrington for 21. O’Brien cruised to a half century and looked likely to take his side home before being caught by Alisdair Evans for 67. A series win now looked a little less comfortable when soon after, Andrew White went for a LBW. Mooney and Sorenson were brought together with 37 runs still needed and thankfully for the hosts the pair were up to the task – with Mooney finishing unbeaten on 27 and Sorenson 14 as Ireland edged the match. Ireland finished on 225/7 and the series was theirs.
With Ireland looking for a whitewash and the Scots playing to end on a high, the third and final test was played on Friday 12th September and once again Malahide was the venue.Scotland won the toss and chose Ireland to bat first – hoping the disruption to pattern (which had seen the visitors bat first in the previous two tests) would change their fortune and leave them with a win.
The decision to choose the opposition to bat first, like Ireland had in the second test when they blew the Scots away early seemed to be paying dividends as Balbirnie (6), Anderson (19) and Stuart Thompson (22) were all caught out before Ireland could even register 50. Irelands issues were compounded by a great showing from Majid Haq as he claimed 5 for 54. Safyaan Sharif backed this up with 2 for 44 with both Evans and Davey taking a wicket a piece too. A partnership of 45 from skipper O’Brien (36) and Poynter (15) did help Ireland back on track, but it was the introduction of Mooney that really lit up Irelands attack. The Dubliner who plays his trade with the North County Cricket Club hit 12 fours and 2 sixes resulting in a career best 96 runs with Ireland finishing on 241/9.
It felt like business as usual as Ireland’s Young removed Matty Cross in the second over. However, Calum Macleod and Hamish Gardiner took on the home bowlers aggressively with both in excellent form. It seemed the pair might lead their side the whole way, such was the dominance of their showing. The partnership was finally broken by Balbirnie but not before the batsmen had dented the hopes of a home side’s series white wash. Gardiner hit 10 fours on his way to 89 – his share of the 179 run partnership with Macleod who himself passed his century with 15 fours in a self-assured 116 not out performance. Scotland captain Preston Mommsen also went unbeaten and finished on 31.
So Ireland did enough to secure the series after winning the first and second test, while it was a case of saving their best until last as Scotland finished on a high taking the third test by 8 wickets.
18 Players have since left for a month long tour of Australia and New Zealand which departed Dublin on Tuesday 23rd September.
IRELAND SQUAD FOR TOUR OF AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND:
William Porterfield (capt), (Warwickshire), Andrew Balbirnie (Middlesex), Peter Chase (Durham), Alex Cusack (Clontarf), George Dockrell (Somerset) , John Mooney (North County), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex), Andrew McBrine (Donemana), Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union), Niall O’Brien (Leicestershire), Andrew Poynter (Clontarf), Stuart Poynter (Durham), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Stuart Thompson (Eglinton) , Andrew White (Instonians), Gary Wilson (Surrey), Craig Young (Bready).
FIXTURES FOR AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND TOUR:
- 30th September, Ireland v The Bulls, Kerrydale Oval , Gold Coast, 10am
- 2nd October, Ireland v The Bulls, Redlands Oval, Brisbane, 10am
- 7th October Ireland v NSW 2XI, ManukaOval, Canberra , 10am or 2pm TBC
- 9th October Ireland v NSW 2XI, ManukaOval, Canberra, 10am or 2pm TBC
- 16th October, Ireland v Northern Districts, Seddon Park, Hamilton, 2pm D/N
- 18th October, Ireland v New Zealand XI, Seddon Park, Hamilton, 2pm D/N
- 21st October, Ireland v Canterbury, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Christchurch, 10.30am
- 23rd Oct, Ireland v Otago, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Christchurch, 10.00am