The Beach Cricket World Cup 2003 (story)
Welcome to Blackpool for the first match of the Beach Cricket World Cup! In the preliminary round, Canada played Ireland for a place in the first round proper. Play began when Canadian opening batsman Harris started with patient batting against McCaubrey, but he eventually got a thick edge through to Patterson with the fifteenth ball and was out for 22.
Bagai went out with high hopes, but dollied his fourth ball straight back to Irish bowler McCoubrey and was out for 4. Canada were in all kinds of trouble as Chef de Groot was called from the pavilion to save their honours. And he started excellently, leading Canada to 62/2 after 5 overs with his 36 and suddenly they were in with a shout.
The Chef reached his fifty in thirty balls only to be clean bowled by McCoubrey with his next ball. John Davison was called out at 76/3 with 31 balls left in the Canadian innings. Davison started out well, getting to 31 in just 15 balls and rounding the 8th over off with an excellent four past square leg, Canada's first boundary of the game. Curry and McCallan did their best to stop him, however he reached 56 not out in 31 balls and took Canada to the respectable total of 132/3.
The crowd of 518 wildly applauded the Irish players as they strolled out on the windy Blackpool pitch after the innings break. Joyce opened the batting for Ireland with a two down leg side. He started out with a solid strike rate, hitting 11 from 6 balls, but then got an inside edge which the keeper Bagai was all too happy to gather.
Davison and Thuraisingam then restricted Patterson to singles, and Davison's sixth ball of the day trickled into his stumps - Ireland 17/2! Davison finished an excellent over with figures of 1/7, as Ireland struggled with all kinds of problems.
Curry however started out well, and by the end of the 4th over he had put 29 runs on the scoreboard. Still, he needed 14.5 an over to win the match for Ireland. He got 13 in the 5th, leaving himself to hit 74 from the last 40 balls. Curry then pulled himself together and hit twos and threes at will, bringing the RRR to 14.5 again after a 16-run 6th over.
Thuraisingam finished his 4-over spell with figures of 1/53, but failed to remove Curry from the crease. Chef de Groot was then punished with the first Irish boundary of the match with his first ball, Curry getting it past square leg for four. After a splendid 8th over he only needed 26 from 12 to send Ireland into the first round proper, and against Davison and Chef de Groot that should pose little trouble.
Or so the Irish fans thought. Two singles struck trouble again as Davison desperately tried to bowl difficult balls - but Curry replied with a three, a two and another three to bring up his century in 55 balls. With 11 balls to go, Ireland needed a further 16 with 3 wickets to spare.
The final nail in the coffin was hammered with another square leg drive to leave the Irish with a target of 10 in the last over. Chef de Groot tried some economical bowling, but Curry drew the match with three balls to spare and then hooked the penultimate ball for six. Ireland now face South Africa in the first round.