Ireland A face uphill task to avoid innings defeat
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
Ireland A started the last day of their three-day game in Darlington against Durham II needing 163 to avoid an embarrassing innings defeat.
With a much stronger batting line-up than bowling, they are more than capable of doing so but the loss of Ben Ackland in the first of three extra overs last night left them one down at the close last night.
It was another marathon day in Darlington, with the minimum quota of 116 overs reached 10 minutes before the scheduled close, and that was no mean achievement considering the amount of leather chasing by the Ireland bowlers for all but the last hour.
Resuming at 72 for no wicket, the Durham openers batted through the morning session, without giving a hint of a chance, adding 176 in 42 overs and they took their partnership to 280 in 64 before Albert van der Merwe made the breakthrough.
The team's most experienced slow bowler ended with three for 119 but until he took his first wicket, he was proving just as expensive as the pace bowlers as making the same mistake of dropping the ball short on a flat pitch.
The four balls were not excessive (54 in a total of 531) but Keaton Jennings was the first player to score a double century against Ireland A, from a mammoth 305 balls, with 18 fours, while Rammy Singh hit 17 boundaries in his 139. Michael Richardson then piled on the agony with the third century from 121 balls and 10 fours.
John Mooney, the captain for this match, is still waiting for his first wicket in Irish colours this season – now after 24 overs and 144 runs – and of the 10 bowlers used, teenager Peter Eakin was as impressive as any and along with Andy Britton the most economical, while Ben Ackland, with his occasional off spin, got the 200-man.