Saturday 1 October 2016

Hat-trick a fitting tribute to Scott

Ger Siggins, Dermot Gilleece and Seán Ryan

Published 26/07/2015 | 02:30

Eoin Morgan made the first double century in Abu Dhabi in 2007, and was too ill to witness Ed Joyce’s 231 in Malahide last month.
Eoin Morgan made the first double century in Abu Dhabi in 2007, and was too ill to witness Ed Joyce’s 231 in Malahide last month.

DEREK SCOTT's passing last week is akin to a library of sporting knowledge being burnt to the ground. From 1951 to '96 he was a senior official of the Irish Cricket Union, helping nurture the sport through thin times and laying the foundations for its current health.

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The game's statistics were his passion and his collecting and collating of scores back to 1855 ensures the sport in Ireland has a recorded history. Some years ago he told me of his regret that he hadn't seen a double-century scored for Ireland, or a hat-trick taken by a bowler. No one had ever scored 200, while the latter feat - three wickets in three balls - had only been achieved once, by underarm bowler Tom Hanna in 1877.

Derek had retired by the time Eoin Morgan made the first double century in Abu Dhabi in 2007, and was too ill to witness Ed Joyce's 231 in Malahide last month. But he was there in Clontarf when his Railway Union club-mate, Trent Johnston, did the hat-trick against Gloucestershire in 2007.

Peter Connell did it two years later against Holland, and last Sunday John Mooney mopped up the Jersey tail with a triple, just a day before Scott died.

Four hat-tricks in 875 games makes it a very rare bird indeed, and the ball will be mounted and presented to Mooney as a memento. Sadly, he won't be getting the top-hat which gives the feat its name after one was presented to the All-England bowler HH Stephenson in 1858 after three wickets in succession.

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They revere Pádraig Harrington, with some justification, over at Stackstown GC in west Dublin. It must be especially pleasing for the club that the three-time Major winner reciprocates so generously, as was evident in a pre-Open visit he made there in the company of Phil Mickelson, who signed the visitors' book.

Now, Harrington is to spearhead a club fund-raiser next Friday, July 31. It will take the form of a four-person scramble, with two shotgun starts - at 7.30am and 1.30pm - followed by dinner.

However good the quality of the play, however, one imagines the high points of the day will be a golf clinic by the great man at noon and an evening Q&A with him at 9.0pm.

All of which sounds like splendid value at €500 for the morning teams, and €1,000 in the afternoon.

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DUBLIN hurlers in the past were often derided for their inability to control the ball with their first touch, and dismissed as "the best two-touch hurlers" in the game, destined never to take their place alongside hurling's elite.

Imagine our surprise, then, when viewing the Munster under-21 hurling semi-finals the other week, featuring 'traditional' counties Tipperary, Clare, Waterford and Limerick, and seeing how much difficulty their rising stars had in controlling the sliotar.

Both contests were good entertainment because they were close-fought battles, but the hurling left a lot to be desired. If the Dublin forwards had missed some of the chances Tipperary spurned under no pressure, they would have been dismissed as second-raters.

On this evidence, the golden era of hurling might be coming to an end. Or maybe, just maybe, Dublin hurlers are catching up on the elite.

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THE economics of League of Ireland football were spelled out to us recently by a director of a Premier Division club, and they make for sober reading.

"Since the FAI took over the League, the prize money for winning the Premier Division has decreased to €100,000, yet affiliation fees are set at €17,000, payment for red and yellow cards can come in at €5,000, and insurance for a club's grounds is €25,000, not leaving much above €50,000 in the unlikely event that our club won the League," he explained.

For clubs that finish lower than first, their expenses remain the same and their chances of breaking even are more remote. Europa League money is their only salvation. That, and the never-ending cycle of fund-raising.

ssport@independent.ie

Sunday Indo Sport

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