A Presidential Diary Part 22

February 3rd 2014 by Robin Walsh | International

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A Presidential Diary Part 22

The Cricket Ireland President, Robin Walsh is in the Caribbean with the Irish Squad; in his second diary entry from Trinidad he writes about a disappointing first outing for Ireland in the Nagico Super 50.

SUNDAY FEB 2, 2014

I ended my last musings with the hope that Ireland’s lack of match practice would not haunt them in the opening game against Guyana. A fond hope as we all now know. Almost two months without bat or bowl in any form of the game, not to talk of five months since the last 50 over game (remember England!) exacted a heavy toll.

It was always going to be tough facing the Chanderpauls and Sarwans of this world less than three days after swapping the five degrees of London for the 31 of Port of Spain and jet lag still being felt by some.

There was no concealing the bitter disappointment in a quiet dressing room used to the victorious strains of “Ireland’s Call”.  But given the context in which the defeat was set, there is a firm belief that much better things are round the corner - and if Ireland are to progress in this inter-island Super 50 competition it has to be tomorrow (Monday) against Jamaica.

But for now the thoughts are of another Ireland side. I write two hours before the rugby game against Scotland at the Aviva and what everyone out here hopes will be the start of a fine week on the international stage.

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The squad will watch the game immediately before their final practice at the Queen’s Park Oval. All know their rugby and none more so than the newest member, physio Andrew Dunne who is standing in for the regular healing man Kieran O’Reilly.  Andy knows everything there is to know about sports injuries having had most of them during a playing career as out half for Leinster and Connacht. And I’m glad to say I can testify to his skills in the profession he has followed since his retirement five years ago. Half an hour on his table has worked wonders on a backache which for days had me bear an uncanny resemblance to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

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That adopted son of Barbados and North Down man to the core, Clarence Hiles, is here to see Ireland’s three group games. He’s become a well known figure within the game out here, not least through his excellent
publication “Sporting Barbados”. He’s now added property publications to his portfolio and, of course, his pen is better known back home for his two definitive histories of cricket in Ulster.

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Ireland’s games in Trinidad are all being played at the Queen’s Park Oval, bringing back pleasant memories for my good friend and team manager, Roy Torrens. He tells me he played on the ground for a North-West touring side back in 1975 along with a number of other luminaries from our native heath,  including his old mate Ossie Colhoun. He tells me two of the party went AWOL for two days during the world renowned carnival and to this day have no notion of what they’d got up to. Maybe just as well that this year’s carnival kicks off just after our departure……

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At the risk of name dropping - and it’s never deterred me before - I’ve been chatting to that legendary writer and commentator, Tony Cozier, about our mutual friend, Sir Everton Weekes. In a vain attempt to impress, I told him the little know fact that the only survivor of the 3 W’s - now in his 89th year - had hit only one six in his Test career (“you can’t be caught if you keep it on the ground”!). In a flash came the Cozier reply : “One six in 4,455 runs - here in Trinidad against Ian Johnson’s Australians in 1954.  I was there!”

kevin o'brien


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