|European Under 17 (Division 1) Championship: Northern Ireland, July-August 2009|
Ireland maintain their 100% record
At Stormont, Ireland recorded an easy nine-wickets victory over Denmark, needing just 15 overs to pass the Danes' total of 80, in which extras (31) was by some considerable distance the highest contributor.
Having won the toss, Irish captain George Dockrell had little hesitation in asking the Danes to bat first, and opener Glenn Hedevang soon became the first of five successive lbw dismissals, trapped in front by Graeme McCarter. Fellow opener Anders Bulow was joined by Sohaib Zahid and their stand of 28 - ended by Sam Shannon - was to be the largest of the innings.
The Irish opening bowlers had been wayward in the early part of the innings, wides more than anything helping the Danish score along to 49 for 2. The introduction of off-spinner Andrew McBrine, however, completely changed the complexion of the game as one Danish batsman after another failed to come to terms with his control of line and length: 49 for 2 soon became 54 for 5 as the Donemana youngster picked up three lbw victims in no time.
From then on it was a steady procession of batsmen back to the pavilion as McBrine went on to finish with six for 11 from 9.5 overs. (That five were either bowled or lbw truly emphasizes the virtues of bowling straight, no matter who the opposition.) At the other end, George Dockrell conceded just nine runs in seven overs and picked up two wickets to continue his recent good run of form.
Before lunch, Irish openers Ryan Hunter and Jason Van der Merwe immediately launched into the Danish bowling, racing to 27 in the opening four overs. Although van der Merwe was caught off Imran Ahmed for 26, Hunter was unbeaten on 38 from 43 balls when Ireland reached their target off the first ball of the sixteenth over. The highlights of Hunter's typically belligerent innings were a six off a no ball, followed by an even bigger maximum off the ensuing free hit.
At Downpatrick, meanwhile, Jersey were sickened by the weather for the second successive day, localized thunderstorms forcing another abandonment when the Islanders seemed well-placed. This time it was against neighbours Guernsey and, having racked up 183 for 4 in 39 overs, a total in the region of 250 had been on the cards.
Admittedly much of Jersey's success derived from the generosity of the Guernsey attack - few sides win when conceding 46 extras in 39 overs - but the start from the Jersey top order was as good as any this week: Aidan McGuire and Daniel McAviney's opening partnership of 84 is the highest so far, while no other batting side has seen each of its top five in double figures on the same day. Aside from McGuire (31 with four fours) and McAviney (41 with five fours), the major contribution came from skipper Ben Stevens, who made 31 from 52 balls.
Max Ellis picked up two wickets for Guernsey, both caught by Thomas Kirk, while Glenn le Tissier was the only one not to concede any wides, getting through a tidy spell for 32 runs.
Unfortunately, given that Jersey's match with Scotland takes preference, there will be no re-arrangement of this match.