Ipswich teacher misses out on Irish joy

AN Ipswich-based teacher has been left kicking himself for missing out on Ireland's amazing Cricket World Cup exploits.Mark Patterson, 33, is director of sport at St Joseph's College and still playing cricket at club level.

By Elvin King

AN Ipswich-based teacher has been left kicking himself for missing out on Ireland's amazing Cricket World Cup exploits.

Mark Patterson, 33, is director of sport at St Joseph's College and still playing cricket at club level.

The Belfast-born pace bowler played 48 times for Ireland, and was asked if he wanted to be involved as the Irish embarked on their first world cup in the West Indies.


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“I had to make a decision,” said Patterson, who played for Surrey for a number of years and finished with Bedfordshire in 2005.

“It would have meant spending time preparing in Ireland, and living in Ipswich it was not practical.

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“I have a ten-month old child and it would have meant big sacrifices.

“But I have to admit that watching the two games on television part of me wished I was there.”

Ireland astounded the cricket world by tieing their first game with Zimbabwe. They then trumped that with a magnificent victory over Pakistan on Saturday - and barring a couple of bizarre results are set to go through to the Super Eight stage.

“I can see them gaining at least one more upset in the seven matches they have left to play,” added Patterson, who made his Ireland debut in 1994 and was taken on by Surrey three years later.

“Unlike the likes of Scotland and Holland they had a genuine belief they could do well in the Caribbean.

“But it was still an unbelievable achievement, helped by having 2,000 supporters cheering them on.”

Patterson has spoken to team member Kyle McCallan a firm friend who attended his wedding and has played more games for Ireland than anybody else.

“Kyle says the lads are still focussed and looking forward to more upsets,” said Patterson, who took 6 for 80 in his first class debut for Surrey against South Africa A at the Oval in 1996 - the best figures by a player making his Surrey debut and earning him a 1997 contract.

His brother Andrew also played for Ireland and Bedfordshire.

The Irish are coached by Adrian Birrell and captained by Trent Johnston. Keeper Niall O'Brien is on Kent's books and batsman Eoin Morgan is rated at Middlesex.

Boyd Rankin and William Porterfield also have English county connections, while Jeremy Bray, who scored a century against Zimbabwe, was born in Australia.

“Most of the lads have jobs to go back to in an all-Ireland side,” added Patterson. “Not one of them would figure in the top 30 players in Pakistan.”

Ireland play their final group match against West Indies at Sabina Park, Jamaica on Friday.

PATTERSON is making a name for himself as a football referee. He has just received confirmation of promotion to take charge of games up to Conference South standard - and to run the line in the Conference.

He takes charge of Stowmarket Town v Saffron Walden in the Ridgeons League tomorrow and is running the line in the Club Colours Suffolk Premier Cup final between Ipswich Town and Leiston at Portman Road on April 17.

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