Ireland A don't get much Purchase out of Gloucestershire
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
The Ireland A bowlers suffered in the Bath sunshine yesterday as an 18 year old non-contracted Gloucestershire batsman played an innings of breathtaking brutality and wonderful entertainment.
Even the home supporters had to ask about the credentials of Christian Purchase when he strode to the wicket just before tea with the county side already on an imposing 301 for five.
Just 91 minutes later, he had blasted 156 runs, all but 16 of them in boundaries and dominated the sixth wicket stand to such an extent that his captain, Ed Young, who was 147 not out when he was joined by the youngster, scored just 25 in the memorable sixth wicket stand of 193. In all Purchase hit an incredible 16 sixes and 11 fours and faced just 82 balls.
Poor Paul Muchall also scored 84 which would, any other day, would have earned much more than an honourable mention.
And this was a stronger Irish bowling attack than lost to Kent 2nds last week! But once Purchase was in the mood, the bowlers lost all sense of discipline and direction although, to be fair to them, he wasn’t just waiting for the bad balls. At one stage – his third 50 came up in 20 balls, including six sixes and two fours – everything that came down went back in the same direction. A hospital is next door to the ground but the only casualties yesterday were Ireland bowlers.
Well not quite the only ones. Compounding Ireland’s woes, Chris Dougherty had to retire hurt after just three balls, after losing the nail of left thumb but, at least he will bat today. He will be needed because in the mayhem after his retirement, Ben Ackland went next ball and Andrew Balbirnie at the start of the next over. Stuart Thompson, who is unable to bowl in the match because of a back injury (lucky him!) was also dismissed before the close as Ireland finished on a perilous 27 for three.
There was a late change to the Ireland team with Graeme McCarter switching sides, replacing Max Sorensen who continues to have visa problems, and he was, not surprisingly, the best bowler on view, denied a wicket by a dropped catch by Rory McCann off Purchase, on 118!