15 minutes after the rain came to halt play in the one-day international between Ireland and England, all 9,000 seats at Malahide Cricket Club were empty and the groundstaff had already begun the clean-up.
Seven hours were still technically available for play, but the weather radar’s stark and ultimately correct prediction that the dark clouds were there for the day prompted a mass exodus of Ireland supporters to the pubs and restaurants of the picturesque north county Dublin village.
Only those in the hospitality tent remained, determined to get value for money from their €300-a-head tickets through food and drink in lieu of any more on-field action.
Their number included the former Ireland coach Phil Simmons, who was back in Dublin on a brief break from his duties as the new head coach of the West Indies.
Simmons was there to receive an award from Cricket Ireland to mark his trophy-filled eight years as Ireland boss.
England head coach Peter Moores, in contrast, remained holed up in the dressing room as rumours swirled through the media tent that the 52-year-old would be sacked following the imminent appointment of Andrew Strauss as England’s new director of cricket.
Moores’ England side, which included five debutants, had impressed in the 79 minutes of play possible before the match was abandoned as a no result, reducing Ireland to 56-4 in 18 overs.
Ireland openers William Porterfield and Paul Stirling, and the middle-order pair Niall O’Brien and Andrew Balbirnie all fell cheaply as England new boy Mark Wood and veteran Tim Bresnan made the white ball swing and seam in helpful conditions.
Ireland captain Porterfield was disappointed by his team’s poor batting and refused to blame the conditions for the top order struggles.
“We knew there would be a bit there and the ball would move, but I wouldn’t say the wicket contributed to a lot of the dismissals,” he said.
England captain James Taylor insisted Moores, who has been under pressure following the Three Lions’ disastrous World Cup and their failure to beat the Windies in the recent Test series, was still focused on his job and retained the support of the players.
“He’s been brilliant. He’s always been very consistent around the dressing room, and there has been no change at all,” he said. “He has been brilliant with me in my limited time as an England player and I know the rest of the guys are thoroughly behind him as well.”
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