Ireland Suffer Heavy Loss Against Canterbury

Ireland's cricketers slumped to an emphatic 117 runs loss against Canterbury in the penultimate game of their World Cup acclimatisation tour at Lincoln in New Zealand.

Canterbury opener Ronnie Hira smashed a brilliant 170 as the home side amassed a huge total of 382 for 6 in their 50 overs.

27 year-old Hira, a New Zealand international all-rounder, struck 22 fours and 4 sixes, dominating an opening stand of 193 with Henry Nicholls.

Nicholls made 71 from 77 deliveries (7 fours) before skipper Kevin O'Brien (1-21) achieved the breakthrough, as the opener edged behind to Niall O'Brien.

Hira shared a further century stand with New Zealand Test player Peter Fulton (57) before retiring out.

There was to be no respite for the beleaguered Irish attack as Fulton and Andrew Ellis (29*) hit three sixes apiece as Canterbury added 89 in the last 8 overs of their innings.

Ireland began their reply in positive fashion, with Niall O'Brien and Andrew Balbirnie making 55 apiece as they shared an opening partnership of 112.

O'Brien was particularly positive, hitting 7 fours and a six in his 49 ball innings, but once he was dismissed, Ireland suffered a mini collapse.

Will Williams (3-32) removed both openers and Kevin O'Brien (2), while Stuart Thompson also fell for just four, as Ireland went from 112 for 0 to 125 for 4.

Andrew Poynter top scored with 57, sharing stands of 44 with John Mooney (25) and 49 with fellow Clontarf batsman Alex Cusack (17).

However, it was all about damage limitation as they never threatened the mammoth Canterbury target.

Graeme McCarter (24) struck some lusty late blows, but Ireland were eventually dismissed for 265 with two overs unused.

The tour concludes on Thursday when Ireland play Otago at the same venue.