An excellent all-round performance with bat and ball from Somerset spinner George Dockrell was not enough to prevent the Ireland cricket team losing their first tour match in New Zealand on 16th October.
Dockrell made the most of spin-friendly conditions at Seddon Park, Hamilton, to cause a few scares in the home dressing room, taking four wickets for just 17 runs as Northern Districts set off in pursuit of Ireland’s modest total of 153 all out.
Despite losing two early wickets, Northern Districts looked well set for victory thanks to an 80-run partnership from Joe Carter (42) and Daryl Mitchell (39).
However after Carter was caught behind, Dockrell struck twice in consecutive overs to reduce Northern Districts to 112-5 in the 30th over, having Mitchell stumped and then Mitchell Santner caught for 5.
Legspinner Jono Hickey (29) and keeper Tim Seifert (17) kept their nerve and rebuilt their side’s innings with a partnership of 41 in exactly eight overs to take Districts to the brink of victory before Dockrell was reintroduced to the attack with the scores level.
Determined to ensure the hosts wouldn’t have things entirely their own way, Dockrell produced a double-wicket maiden, having Hickey stumped and then next ball picking up Jono Boult, caught without scoring.
Ultimately though, Dockrell’s efforts proved in vain as, in the next over, Seifert struck a boundary off Andy McBrine to secure victory for Northern Districts by three wickets with 11.5 overs remaining. Dockrell finished with figures of 6-1-17-4 and firmly pressed his case to be first choice for Ireland’s World Cup side in the New Year.
Earlier in the day, the Ireland side – hit by injury and illness and missing a number of key players – had been put into bat by Northern Districts.
Ireland slumped to 58-5 before former Somerset T20 all-rounder Kevin O’Brien made 45 in a partnership worth 53 for the sixth wicket with Alex Cusack (20). However when the pair fell in quick succession, Ireland were again in trouble at 130-7.
Dockrell though ensured the Ireland bowlers would at least have some kind of total to defend as he smashed an unbeaten 28 off 31 balls, including three fours and one six, before Ireland were all out for 153 with 9.2 overs still remaining of their innings: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/765567.html
Ireland’s next game on Saturday (overnight Friday/Saturday 17/18 UK time) is likely to prove the most demanding of their tour as they come up against a strong New Zealand XI, containing most of the full New Zealand ODI side. The game will also be played at Seddon Park and will be live-streamed on the ICC website, www.icc-cricket.com should you wish to follow the action.
Meanwhile George and the Ireland squad have posted a selection of videos and photographs of the side on tour, including a short film shot by Dockers in Canberra where the side played the final game of their visit to Australia.
- Like Ireland, the Scotland cricket squad – including Somerset’s Josh Davey – are also in New Zealand for a series of one-day games as part of their preparation for the World Cup. Josh didn’t play in their first game against the New Zealand XI earlier this week where the visitors lost by an agonising one run thanks to a run out off the final ball of the game. Josh is included in the squad for tonight’s game (overnight 16/17 October UK time) against Canterbury at Christchurch.