Ireland's 800th Match
It took Ireland almost 136 years since their first game way back in 1855 against the Gentlemen of England (guess they weren't too many players eligible under that title) to play 400 matches, but when Ireland play the first Twenty20 against Bangladesh at Stormont on 18 July, it will have taken only (exactly) another 21 years to reach 800 matches.Some milestones since then include:
The centenary matches to date:
100: Scotland drew with Ireland at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow, 20 July 1911.
This game was notable for Hugh Mulholland and Bob Lambert both scoring hundreds for Ireland. Lambert is the only Irishman to have scored more than 100 centuries.
In complete contrast to the fixture congestion of modern times, this was the only game played by Ireland in 1911.
200: Scotland drew with Ireland at Grange CC, Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, 30 June 1956.
This game saw Ireland eke out a draw with Noel Cantwell making his debut. Cantwell famously not only captained Ireland at cricket, but also Manchester United to an FA Cup final win. Wesley Ferris took four wickets in the first innings for Ireland - Ferris is one of a handful of players to play in the three major unions in Ireland.
300: Ireland drew with Sri Lanka at Eglinton, Co Londonderry, 7 July 1979.
Ivan Anderson scored 110 in the drawn game with Ginger O'Brien, father of Niall and Kevin, making an unbeaten 45. O'Brien is the leading run scorer in the history of Leinster cricket, while Anderson held the record for the highest score for Ireland (198* v Canada) until being overtaken by a certain Eoin Gerard Morgan. Current prominent ICC Match referee Rangan Madugalle was a member of the Sri Lankan team.
400: Free Foresters drew with Ireland at Lancing College, 18 July 1991
Ireland's opponents contained a fresh faced 22 year old called Richard John Wilson Holdsworth who took 2 for 25, claiming the scalps of Deryck Vincent and Conor Hoey. A Bill WM Lawry also played - not the great Australian opener, but a good friend of the current Irish Performance Director who was best man at his wedding; Alan Buzza who played rugby for Wasps and England A was also in the Forester ranks. Nigel Thompson, father of Ireland's latest debutant Stuart (cap number 683), was also in the Irish side that day.
500: Denmark beat Ireland by 3 wkts at HCC1 The Hague, 21 July 1998, European Championships.
The opening partnership of Kyle McCallan and Ed Joyce both went cheaply, but solid efforts from Angus Dunlop and the North West triumvirate of Gordon Cooke, Peter Gillespie and Stephen Smyth gave them something to bowl at. Their efforts were in vain though as the Danes won a thriller off the penultimate ball of the game.
600: Ireland beat Denmark by 73 runs at Upritchard Park, Bangor, 7 July 2005, ICC Trophy.
Fast forward seven years and Ireland gain revenge over the Vikings with a game which ensured their qualification for the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies. The Joyce brothers were to the fore as Ed top scored with 60 (he enjoyed a Bradmanesque average of 99.75 in the tournament), while Dom made 50, and Peter Gillespie chipped in with 40 as Ireland scored 222. That was 73 runs too many for the Danes as Trent Johnston and Paul Mooney ripped through the top order, with Andrew White finishing off proceedings, taking 3 for 17.
700: Leicestershire beat Ireland by 7 wickets at Grace Road, Leicester, 4 May 2009, Friends Provident Trophy.
An 18 year old Paul Stirling top scored with 80 - one of 23 times he has passed 50 for Ireland, while Kevin O'Brien hit an unbeaten 67. Their efforts weren't rewarded with a win as Hylton Ackerman (one of a number of Kolpak players in the Leicestershire ranks), scored an unbeaten century to take his side to a seven wicket win.
Of the 799 matches to date Ireland have won 267, drawn 180 and lost 339. One match was tied and in 13 matches there was a no result. That tied game was of course the World Cup group game against Zimbabwe at Sabina Park, when in a game of fluctuating fortunes Andrew White held his nerve to bowl a dot ball off the final delivery to spark scenes of jubilation in the Irish ranks.
683 players have been capped by Ireland up to match 799. Of these full biographies are now available in the CricketEurope Ireland StatsZone for 542 players. The biographies include details of every player’s club and representative career as well as his performances for Ireland.
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