Match Analysis

Rain pain sadly familiar for Ireland

Ireland's new coach John Bracewell was an active presence in north Dublin but the weather prevented him from learning too much

Ger Siggins at Malahide
England celebrate Jonny Bairstow's run-out of Paul Stirling, Ireland v England, only ODI, Malahide, May 8, 2015

New Ireland coach John Bracewell did not have much opportunity to learn about the players  •  Getty Images

While there is some dispute about how many different Inuit words for snow there are, the Irish certainly have a wide range of descriptions for rain. A "soft day" is one where the rain descends gently and warms the face - but it wasn't a soft day at Malahide.
Gallons were dumped on to the Village ground as a well-signalled Atlantic storm blew into north Dublin. It put paid to the second visit of England to Cricket Ireland's impressive pop-up stadium after just 18 overs, ruining one of the governing body's rare chances to secure a payday and the team's opportunity to play a leading side in an ODI.
Ireland complained long and hard at the recent World Cup that they needed more opportunities to play against Full Members. "Only nine games in four years" was the mantra; now 50% of their 2015 home ODI programme has been washed out.
The financial hit will have to be taken, again, by the 9000 spectators who bought tickets, although only around half turned up having checked the weather forecast and Cricket Ireland has offered complimentary tickets to future events. Three years ago Australia came to Belfast and the innings ended after 10.4 overs, four balls after the refunds limit had passed. Before play here, a Cricket Ireland official joked that William Porterfield planned to open with two spinners to ensure he got the overs in.
It was a disappointing end for all concerned: the quintet of Englishmen making their international debuts; the Irishmen who were hoping to impress their new coach; and the English coach desperately hoping to claim a win, any win.
John Bracewell has been a large presence here all week, making himself known to all involved in the Irish game while allowing stand-in coach Pete Johnston the room to prepare his side. Ireland has had a New Zealand coach before, Ken Rutherford holding the reins for 18 months in the early 2000s. His reign was largely forgettable, an ill-prepared amateur side failing to qualify from the ICC Trophy in Canada in 2001. Rutherford got off on the wrong foot, spending part of his first game in charge watching an All Blacks rugby test on TV rather than studying his new charges in the field.
Whether or not Bracewell was tempted by the televised Auckland Blues Super 15 game, he was a keen observer of the action at Malahide from the first ball. He stood alone to the left of the sightscreen and took in everything as his team struggled with the early movement on offer to England's bowlers. In the play possible he will have learnt very little - Ed Joyce is a cool head in a crisis, and Paul Stirling's running between the wickets needs work, but he will have known that anyway.
The expectations on Bracewell are high, with the goal of Ireland ending the 2017 season on the brink of Test cricket the top of the list. World Cup qualifying points would be useful too, although the system that holds out hope for Afghanistan and Ireland to automatically reach the 2019 World Cup is weighted to ensure that does not happen.
England, being hosts, have no fears of missing out on that tournament of course, but they know they need to greatly improve their 50-over cricket. They will regret not getting a chance to properly blood the five debutants, although Mark Wood and David Willey each got their first wicket under their belt in their fourth over of ODI cricket.
Ireland have now played 17 home ODIs against Full Members since the 2007 World Cup but only five have passed off without any visit from the rain. More than 500 overs were lost in those, with 12 games either abandoned or reduced.
A despondent club official sighed as he watched the work of months be washed away, and shrugged as he struggled to work out what more could be done to ensure play. "I suppose we could build a big umbrella," he grinned.