From Monday to Thursday last week the international cricketers of Ireland and South Africa A were in Coleraine to play a four day game, which had international first class status, at Sandel Lodge.
The Ireland team was captained by Kevin O’Brien, famous for his match winning, big hitting century against England in the World Cup at Bangalore, India in March 2011.
Due to our recent inclement weather conditions, Monday’s play was washed out, but play did get underway on Tuesday morning, with Ireland batting first. The South African bowling attack proved to be fast and furious with Wayne Parnell taking first wickets and Rory Kleinveldt taking three. Ireland were all out in their first innings for 180.
By Tuesday afternoon the South Africans were batting and Ireland fielding, with an injury to Ireland’s twelfth man requiring a local substitute, teenager Paul Douglas to be drafted in for the remainder of the game. Paul was on the field briefly on Tuesday and again on Wednesday whenever any of the Ireland team needed a break and he was delighted to have the chance to talk to the players on both teams during the game and in the intervals.
He was also involved in the team warm ups, borrowing spare kit for the day to join in, wearing the team colours.
South Africa batted for all of the remainder of Tuesday and again on Wednesday making 219 with the loss of six wickets before the rain returned in the afternoon session and play was again halted. Six of the Ireland team bowled with Limavady player, Stuart Thompson, taking two wickets for 45 runs in his 16 overs.
Thursday morning was bright and sunny, but the damage had been done overnight, with the square being so waterlogged that on inspection, the umpires decided it was unsafe to play at all and the game was declared a draw.
Despite the loss of two days play, Coleraine RF&CC are pleased to have hosted this match so successfully and were delighted that there were a good number of spectators in attendance.
They are also hugely indebted to the dedicated grounds staff, caretakers and catering team who made the event run smoothly and the volunteer teams of club members who were manning the covers throughout the game in case of rain. They hope to be able to have more international games for local cricket fans to enjoy at Sandel Lodge in future.