Beleaguered Irish blitzed in Bath
Ireland A were on the receiving end of a cricketing blitzkrieg in Bath today, enduring once of most one sided days' play in recent times.
Having won the toss Gloucestershire opted to bat but were soon in difficulty as early wickets for Phil Eaglestone, Andy Britton and Shane Getkate, coupled with a run out for Stuart Thompson had left them precariously placed at 85 for 4.
Alas for the Irish, what followed was sheer carnage as a further 405 runs were added for the loss of just one further wicket.
Skipper Ed Young scored 172 from 232 balls (21 fours, 6 sixes), sharing a 5th wicket satnd of 216 with Paul Muchall who hit 11 fours and 2 sixes in his 83.
The real fireworks began however when 18 year old Christian Purchase came to the middle - in an amazing display of clean hitting, he struck the Irish attack for an incredible 16 sixes and 11 fours, as 140 of his 156 not out came in boundaries, from just 82 deliveries.
He added 193 with Young in just 136 balls, as Gloucestershire declared on 494 for 5, leaving Ireland 14 overs to negotiate before the close.
In another miserable passage of play, Chris Dougherty was forced to retire hurt with a thumb injury, and it got worse as Ben Ackland went first ball, and Andrew Balbirnie lasted just two.
Stuart Thompson (15) hit 3 boundaries before becoming the third wicket to fall, as Ireland finished the day on 27 for 3, a mammoth 467 runs behind.
Ireland do have a long batting line-up, but it will take something special if they are to avoid the follow-on, which seems a long way away at 345.