Belfast Telegraph

Poynter takes chance to impress

By Ian Callender

If the second day of Ireland A’s game in Sussex was a dress rehearsal for batsmen trying to get into the senior team it was, with just a singular exception, a bad one.

Not only did the team not threaten the county second XI’s first innings total of 245, but by the end of day two they were 212 runs in arrears and still needing to take eight wickets before they could set out on a victory chase.

And a generous declaration this morning seems to be their only chance of getting something out of the match.

Andrew Poynter was the only player to do himself any favours, his innings of 66 more than three times the next best score as Ireland A were dismissed for 178, a first innings deficit of 67.

Poynter has not been involved with the senior squad since before last year’s World Twenty20 in England but the Clontarf batsman put his hand up for a recall, when required, with an innings which earned praise from coach Adrian Birrell.

“He looked in good form and batted beautifully against a good bowling attack,” said Birrell.

“Unfortunately he didn’t get any support and our backs are against the wall, but we will still be going for victory today.”

Despite an opening stand of 80 second time around by Sussex, the Irish bowlers stuck to their task.

“I’m not as despondent as the scoreboard would suggest,” added Birrell.

“We bowled good areas and had a few good shouts for lbw. John Mooney was outstanding and we are up against a good side.”

Mooney was thrust into new ball duties last night because of an injury to Craig Young — a side strain keeping the Sussex-contracted player off the field — but none of the bowlers were hit out of the attack as the game meandered along at a steady three runs an over.

The big disappointment of the day was Andre Botha, the veteran of 132 Ireland games, dropped down to captain the A team but mainly in search of some meaningful runs.

But he had just six to his name when he was caught in the slips as Ireland A slumped to 49 for five.

When Mooney was out for 11, the scoreboard read 65 for six and the visitors were still faced with the embarrassment of being asked to follow-on but Albert van der Merwe stayed with Mooney and added 77 for the seventh wicket to continue a fine match for the Irish debutant.

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