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Ireland International Matches
Netherlands lost to Ireland by 10 runs
European Championships, Utrecht, 20 July 2004
Derek Scott
Following the three day match against Holland came the European Championship, being staged also in Holland. Apart from the title of European Champions itself, this tournament would determine the seedings of the European Teams to take part in the ICC Trophy in Ireland in 2005. The contestants for the European Cup were Ireland, Denmark, English Cricket Board, Holland and Scotland. As ECB were not eligible for the ICC Trophy, the other four would automatically qualify for it and their seedings were at stake here. Italy would have been entitled to take part in the European Cup but in fact opted to take part in a qualification tournament for the ICC Trophy which was taking place at around the same time. The first match of the 2004 European Cup was between Ireland v English Cricket Board ("ECB") at Utrecht, Holland on Sunday, July 18th 2004.

Overnight rain and storms prevented play in what should have been the first match for Ireland in this European Cup. Tarpaulin covers were used for the wicket and, in some places, were blown off the pitch. So bad were the conditions that the match was abandoned almost immediately and a bowl out took place at 11.00 a.m., with 10 players bowling for each team.

The Irish team for the scheduled match proper would have been JAM Molins (Captain); JP Bray; AC Botha; PG Gillespie; AR White; WK McCallan; DT Johnston; N Shoukat; PJK Mooney; S Ogilby and G Cooke. After the three day match M Hutchinson returned home. To make up the panel of 14, JAM Molins; PJK Mooney and G Cooke came out. Of the panel of 14 JF Mooney; GJ Thompson and DI Joyce were left out of the original team. For the bowl out Molins and Gillespie dropped out and JF Mooney and Joyce came in.

Having won the bowl out toss, E.C.B. decided to bowl first. They hit with their third and fourth bowlers. Ireland's only success was N Shoukat who bowled fourth. Thus E.C.B. won the bowl out 2-1. Most of the other Irish bowlers were not very near, none tried to bowl a full toss and too many of them seemed to have fingers on the seam. It was a bad start to the Championship.

Holland v Ireland The margin of victory might seem small but Holland never looked like winning this match which was reduced to 31 overs per side due to morning rain (play started at 3.13 p.m.). Holland had two wickets in hand at the end but after 15 overs they were 64 for two and at 20 overs 100 for 2. The came a collapse. At 25 overs it was 123 for 5 with 59 needed in six overs. Three more wickets fell before the end and 20 were needed off the last two overs. This win compensated somewhat for a 1 run defeat in Toronto but there was also a European Cup win at Eglinton in 2002 and the three day win the previous week in Deventer.

The changes from the previous week's game for Holland were Van Bunge, De Leede, Buurman (WK) coming in for Van Nierop (ill) Raja and Smits. Ireland remained unchanged from the team that would have played ECB two days previously, JF Mooney; GJ Thompson and DI Joyce again being left out.

Ireland won the toss and batted first on a slow pitch and an uncut outfield with grass lying on it. Holland had lost to Scotland on Monday 19th. Molins and Bray faced the outswing of Schiferli and Gokke. Bray had two near play-ons. Then, in Gokke's second over, he hit a four past mid-off. Two balls later he checked his shot and was caught at extra cover. 14-1-8. Botha joined his captain but Bray's four was the only one in the first seven overs. Medium paced Reekers replaced Gokke for over eight. Molins tried to chop a ball that was too near to him and which had come in a bit. It bowled him. 33-2-13. White was next and there followed the best stand and only 50 partnership of the innings. In almost 10 overs the pair added 53 at roughly a run a ball. White dominated the stand with 40 runs to Botha's 10 but White received 35 balls to Botha's 23. Holland tried medium paced Kloppenburg and Van Troost (left arm) but White scored freely. 50 was up in 13 overs and the score had reached 80 in 17 overs. White hit the first ball of the 19th over (Van Troost) over the screen. Next ball he failed to go through with his shot and was caught and bowled. 86-3-40.

Johnston came in ahead of Gillespie and McCallan to keep the momentum moving. He did. 100 arrived in over 20 but Botha was run out in the next over. Botha hit the ball to deep mid-on, Johnston called him for a second run but Botha was well out on a throw to the wicket-keeper. 107-4-24. Gillespie after a run of good scores, did not last long. He faced nine balls for five runs but he watched an assault by Johnston on Kloppenburg and de Leede (medium pace). Johnston hit Kloppenburg for 21 in the 23rd over. It ran 6-dot-4-6-4-1. The sixes were straight and over long-off. Then Johnston was out to a good boundary catch by De Grooth running to his left. His 49 included four sixes and two fours and took only 30 balls. 38 had been put on for the fifth wicket of which Gillespie had made only 2! 145-5-49. The innings needed a boost but did not get it. Ireland did use the full 31 overs but only added 36 runs in the last 4 overs and lost four more wickets.

McCallan saw up 150 in over 27 but lost Gillespie in over 28. He pulled upwards and De Grooth caught another good catch low down at deep square leg. 157-6-5. Schiferli came back for over 29 in which McCallan was run out. He hit to deep extra cover, called a second run, but the throw beat him to the wicket-keeper. 163-7-12. Mooney and Shoukat did their best putting on 18 in 15 balls. Esmeijer (slow left arm) came back for the last over - his third. He took 2 wickets. Shoukat hit his first ball over wide long-on but was out to the fifth ball caught at long-off. 181-8-11. Ogilby, in his 12th match, went in to bat for Ireland for only the third time (previously two innings for 4 runs). He hit his first ball, the last of the innings, straight to deep square-leg. Ireland hit an equal number of sixes and fours in the innings - six of each. Thus one third of the runs came in boundaries. 181 in 31 overs meant that Holland had to score at a rate of a run a ball. Only Schiferli (six overs) and Kloppenburg (seven overs) bowled the full allotted quota of overs. They conceded 75 runs and did not take a wicket. Five other bowlers bowled 18 overs between them, conceded 97 runs, but all of them took at least one wicket.

Holland went in to bat at 5.30 p.m. De Grooth and Reekers opened to the bowling of Johnston and Shoukat. Soon two wickets were down. 13 runs were up in three overs. The Shoukat dismissed De Grooth with the first ball of the fourth over. He nibbled and was caught at the wicket. 13-1-3. Van Bunge, a young man on the MCC groundstaff, came in. He watched Reekers take 10 off Johnston's third over. This caused a change for the next over at that end. Botha, now fit to bowl again, came on. His fourth ball bowled Reekers. It was a yorker that Reekers, head up, tried to force. 29-2-17. There ended Ireland's success for a long period. Zuiderent joined Van Bunge and a stand of 86 ensued off 99 balls with Van Bunge leading the way. Ireland switched their bowlers frequently. Cooke, White, McCallan, Mooney and finally Johnston, for a second spell, all had a turn in the 16 over stand. Van Bunge hit three sixes and Zuiderent one. Fours on the wet outfield were difficult and there were only two. Van Bunge's first six over long-on off Botha brought up 54 in over 13. At the half way mark, 15.3 overs, Holland were 71, some 20 runs off the pace. Van Bunge's second six came in this over - a straight six off Cooke. When McCallan came on, over 18, Zuiderent hit his first ball over long-off for his sole six. Van Bunge hit his third and last six in the next over (White) to the leg side of the screen. 100 was up after over 20. 82 now required in 11 overs and the rate had climbed to over 7 an over, but only two wickets were down.

Mooney and Johnston were now bowling. 11 came in three overs and then, in the 25th over, Van Bunge went to 50 with a single (68 balls) and was out five balls later. He pulled away to slash a full toss, missed and was bowled. 115-3-50. As often happens after a stand it is "one go they both go". Two balls later Zuiderent skied Mooney to mid-wicket. 115-4-36. With de Leede and Van Troost in 46 balls remained to get 67 - the rate had gone to over eight an over. Four more wickets fell before the end. Van Troost changed his mind having pushed forward. He then tried to play back and was bowled. 120-5-2. Schiferli joined de Leede and these two caused Ireland their only worry. 24 came in 15 balls. In two overs de Leeds scored 14, batting way outside his leg stump, and intent on hitting. The ball before he was out 48 runs were required off 26 balls. Next ball de Leede was yorked by Johnston. 144-6-14.

Cooke came on for Mooney (28th over). Schiferli hit him for six over long-on but the last ball of the over, a slower ball, bowled Buurman. 155-7-3. Esmeijer joined Schiferli but Cooke bowled the latter in his next over as he swung wildly. 162-8-23. Schiferli's 23 came from 15 balls. Now only 11 balls remained to score 20 but Esmeijer and Kloppenburg could only manage nine singles against Cooke and Botha before time ran out. Holland only managed 62 runs in boundaries and this was their undoing against mostly accurate bowling. Ireland used seven bowlers. Wickets were vital and five of the seven were wicket takers. The star was Johnston's three for 44 off seven overs. The spinners only bowled four overs for 27 runs. If there was a Man-of-the-Match it was Johnston with 49 runs and three wickets. Ireland had beaten Holland twice in a week, and, including their 2002 win, three times in succession. Holland seemed to be in decline but Ireland were improving rapidly with four new foreign born players.