|European Under 15 (Division 1) Championship: Jersey, August 2008|
Scots ease to seven-wickets win against the Netherlands
Scotland began their European Under-15 1st Division Championships campaign with a comfortable seven-wickets win over the Dutch at FB Fields today, chasing down the Netherlands’ total with more than sixteen overs in hand.
Following some very heavy rain yesterday, Scottish captain Peter Legget understandably invited the Dutch to bat, but openers James Gruijters and Jaap Dickmann got their team off to a more than decent start in trying conditions, reaching thirty-nine in a dozen overs. But when Gruijters was cleaned up by Legget himself, his decision to field first was utterly vindicated as the Dutch innings folded at an alarming rate, all ten wickets falling for no more than fifty runs.
The batsmen had particular difficulty in combating the very impressive leg-spin of Andrew Umeed, who picked up four big wickets in the middle-order. Unable to work him for singles and twos, the batsmen consequently went for extravagant and risky shots and, on a turning pitch, this inevitably led to their downfall. There were also a couple of wickets for Freddie Cox and Peter Ross, and from a reasonable position of 64 for 3 the Netherlands collapsed to 89 all out.
Indeed, when chasing such a low total, any respectable start is likely to seal the match and, with the Scots going to lunch at 26 without loss, so it was here. There were, however, a few nervous moments, no less so than when both Patrick Baker and Freddie Cox threw away their wickets to leave Scotland at 51 for 3, thus giving the Dutch some kind of hope.
This, however, was no cause for major concern so long as the Scots’ ultimate advantage was consolidated, and given that the Dutch failed to take a couple of golden chances to remove Ross McLean and Andrew Lewis in the immediately following overs, a victorious chase was likely to be the only result on the cards.
Having survived these scares, the Scots proceeded serenely to victory, with the required runs coming both quickly and without further alarm. McLean finished unbeaten on 30 (61 balls, four fours), with Lewis on 19 (34 balls, one boundary).
Of the Dutch bowlers, James Gruijters bowled a highly economical spell of leg-spin with the new ball (credit to his skipper for trying something different when it was required), and was perhaps unlucky to take no more than a solitary wicket. For a while he bowled in effective tandem with fellow leggie Joost Kroesen, but in the end, in spite of the slow outfield and the helpful pitch, the Dutch simply had nowhere near the number of runs needed to successfully defend.
Scotland should now go into tomorrow’s fixture with Jersey confident of booking their place in Thursday’s final, while the Netherlands have a day to practise – on, importantly, grass pitches to which they are unaccustomed – ahead of what now becomes a crunch match with the home team on Wednesday.