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Defending champion Ireland issues ominous message

We want it even more this time, says Ireland's McCallan

Defending champion Ireland issues ominous message - Cricket News
"We want it even more this time," says veteran McCallan on eve of his side's opening match as old enemy Scotland stands in the way at historic Mannofield

Meanwhile, Bermuda hosts Uganda in first-ever ICC Intercontinental Shield match

Live scorecards will be available at www.icc-cricket.com; Photographs from both matches will also be available and may be used free of charge with appropriate credit


The historic cricket ground at Mannofield, Aberdeen has been the scene of some great moments over the years. It is famously the venue of a Don Bradman century when the Australian "Invincibles" visited Scotland at the tail-end of the 1948 Ashes tour.

The host club Aberdeenshire CC has attracted plenty of other top players over the years including the brilliant Bermudans Alma Hunt and Nigel Hazel as well as the great West Indies batsman Rohan Kanhai, who scored more than 4,000 runs for ACC in just three seasons at the club.

It has also been the scene of some great battles between two of the oldest and fiercest rivals in the game, Scotland and Ireland. The latest chapter in that ongoing history book will be written this week as William Porterfield's Ireland travels across the Irish Sea to take on a Scotland team that has begun its ICC Intercontinental Cup 2009-10 campaign impeccably.

One player who is relishing the prospect of the next Hiberno-Caledonian showdown is Kyle McCallan, a man who should know what to expect when the four-day match begins on Monday given he is a veteran of 23 such matches in all forms of cricket.

"Our games with Scotland over the years have always been battles, and I expect the game in Aberdeen to be no different. They seem to be in something of a transition period but they got a great result last month against Canada and we would never take them lightly.

"One of the most dramatic games of cricket I've ever been involved in was in this competition here in Aberdeen in 2005, when we won by just three runs. That sparked off our great run in the ICC Intercontinental Cup, and we've been in the ascendancy ever since," said the veteran off-spinner who celebrates his 34th birthday later this month.

Ireland is certainly the team to beat in this competition having won it on the previous three occasions. But there are no signs from McCallan that the winning streak is about to end.

"The lads really enjoy this format of the game. The batsmen can build an innings while the bowlers can get into a good rhythm with long spells and attacking fields.

"It's funny but despite winning the trophy three times, we probably want it even more this time. We've got a real desire to show the world we're the best Associate team at all levels, and winning this is one of the best ways to do it. We've some fantastic memories over the past few years."

A former Ireland captain, McCallan was preparing for another game in charge due to the absence of Porterfield but the Gloucestershire opener was released at the last minute by his county for this game and so will skipper the side again, a huge boost to what is already a strong squad that includes proven performers Trent Johnston, Jeremy Bray and Andrew White as well some younger talent in the form of seamer Shane Getkate and hard-hitting top-order batsman Paul Stirling.

Scotland will not be short on confidence having started the competition well with an outright win over Canada at the same venue. The squad shows four changes from that match. Dougie Lockhart replaces the injured Simon Smith as the wicketkeeper-batsman. Lockhart is currently the top Scottish batsman in the national leagues and has been in great form both in front of and behind the stumps for his club, West of Scotland.

Gordon Goudie returns after a serious shoulder injury and replaces Calum MacLeod, with left-arm spinner Ross Lyons being selected ahead of leg-spinner Moneeb Iqbal. Stewart Chalmers is rewarded for his recent excellent form with his first four-day call-up, to fill the all-rounder position vacated by the injured Jan Stander. Mathew Parker and Alistair Evans complete the squad, which is captained by all-rounder Gordon Drummond in the absence of Gavin Hamilton.

Play starts each day at 1100 (local time) and admission is free.

Scotland (squad): Gordon Drummond (captain), Fraser Watts, Dougie Lockhart, Qasim Sheikh, Ryan Watson, Euan Chalmers, Neil McCallum, Richie Berrington, Stewart Chalmers, Majid Haq, Ross Lyons, Gordon Goudie, Mathew Parker, Ally Evans.

Ireland (squad): William Porterfield (captain), Andre Botha, Jeremy Bray, Andrew Britton, Alex Cusack, Shane Getkate, Trent Johnston, Kyle McCallan, Kevin O'Brien, Andrew Poynter, Paul Stirling, Regan West, Andrew White, Gary Wilson.

Umpires: Ian Ramage and Paul Baldwin (ICC Associates and Affiliates Umpires' Panel)

Meanwhile, Bermuda plays host to Uganda in the first-ever match in the ICC Intercontinental Shield, which incorporates the four teams below those playing in the Cup competition with Namibia and the United Arab Emirates being the other two.

Bermuda's preparation for the match has been hampered by the late withdrawal of Chris Douglas and OJ Pitcher and selectors have not yet named their replacements.

But Uganda, too, will be without some front-line players. Joel Olweny, Kenneth Kamyuka, Junior Kwebiha, Nehal Bibodi and Patel Nandikshor will all be absent giving the David Hemp-led home side a good opportunity to get the campaign off with a victory.

BERMUDA: David Hemp (captain), Stephen Outerbridge, Irving Romaine, Terryn Fray, Rodney Trott, Tamauri Tucker, Jekon Edness, Fiqre Crockwell, Malachi Jones, Jordan De Silva, Kevon Fubler.

UGANDA (squad): Mirza Akbar Baig (captain), Benjamin Musoke, Roger Mukasa, Fred Isabirye, Laurence Sematimba, Jonathan Sebanja, Frank Nsubuga, Raymond Otim, Assadu Seiga, Daniel Ruyange, Arthur Kyobe, Charles Waiswa, Davis Arinaitwe, Ronald Ssemanda, Dennis Tabby.

Umpires: Roger Dill of the ICC Associates and Afilliates Umpires' Panel and a local appointment.

Note to editors: Live scoring from these matches can be found at www.icc-cricket.com. Photographs from both matches will be available. If you wish to receive daily updates and photos please reply to this email.

The ICC Intercontinental Cup has quickly grown in stature and profile since its inception five years ago and, now the ICC's premier first-class tournament, is an integral part of the Associate Members' cricket schedule.

Having previously been designed around a two-group, three-day format, the event then evolved into an eight-team, round-robin and truly global tournament featuring four-day cricket which gives those teams who do not play Test cricket the chance to experience the longer form of the game.

This year's format will include seven teams (Afghanistan, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, the Netherlands, Scotland and Zimbabwe XI) while a new competition, the ICC Intercontinental Shield will involve four teams below that, namely Bermuda, Namibia, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates.

Scotland won the first ICC Intercontinental Cup in 2004, beating Canada in the final, while Ireland has been victorious in all three events since then, beating Kenya in the 2005 decider, Canada in the 2006-07 event and Namibia in 2007-08.

For more information go to: www.icc-cricket.com

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