|European Under 19 (World Cup Qualifier) Championship: Belfast, July 2010|
Ireland defeat Jersey to keep World Cup hopes alive
Ireland kept their World Cup qualification hopes alive after a 123 run win against previously unbeaten Jersey at Bangor.
It wasn't as convincing a performance as the result suggests, and for periods of the contest, Jersey were very much in the game before ultimately falling away.
Much the same as yesterday the Irish got off to a flying start as Jason van der Merwe and Ryan Hunter added 61 for the first wicket in just 7.5 overs, before Hunter was brillantly caught at short midwicket by Aidan McGuire for 29 off 32 balls (2 fours, 1 six).
The glorious unpredictability of cricket was never better emphasised than the next short passage of play - yesterday's heroes against Denmark - Van der Merwe and Adam Berry came together - their stand at Downpatrick had been worth 263. Today, it lasted precisely one legitimate delivery as Alex Noel (2-55) yorked Berry much to the delight of his team mates.
Jason van der Merwe continued on his merry way though undaunted by the loss of his team mate, and had reached 60 from 55 balls (5 fours), before being caught by Tim de la Haye off the bowling of Ben Stevens.
The introduction of spin at both ends had Ireland flummoxed, as they showed an alarming lack of technique and application. James Faudemer (3-33) and Ben Stevens (2-30) reduced the Irish to 138-7, and it was very much game on.
The Irish lower order proved up to the challenge and they added a vital 100 runs in the last twenty overs, with Graeme McCarter (24) and Jordan Coughlan (23) adding 52 for the 8th wicket.
Both were removed in quick succession by Charles Perchard (2-26), before a stubborn unbroken last wicket stand of 42 between Adam Coughlan (27*) and Simon Olphert (11*) took Ireland up to the dizzy heights of 238 for 9.
It didn't look as if it would be enough when Jersey started their reply in a refreshingly positive manner. Daniel McAviney and William Falle in particular unleashed a barrage of attacking shots that put Ireland very much on the back foot.
Falle struck George Dockrell for three boundaries in his first over, and Jersey started to believe that this could very well be their day as they advanced to 67-0 in just 11 overs.
Shane Getkate (2-22) however removed McAviney (17) and Aidan McGuire in the space of three balls to renew the Irish spirits.
The crucial wicket of William Falle came with no addition to the score, as he presented Dockrell with a regulation caught and bowled chance. Falle's brisk and cavalier 43 came from just 37 deliveries, and included 7 fours and 1 six.
Dockrell then spun his magic, as a return of 0-17 in 2 overs metamorphised into 4-34 in 10, as in addition to Falle, he dismissed Ben Stevens, Tim de la Haye and Corey Bisson.
Two wickets for Andy McBrine (2-12) and two run outs saw Jersey all out for 115 in 29.2 overs. Their last 10 wickets had gone down for 48 runs in 18.1 overs, as they like Ireland failed in their examinations against spin bowling.
An intriguing last day in prospect with the two World Cup places and title still up for grabs. Scotland and Jersey go head to head, while Ireland take on The Netherlands.
You can't help but feel that more twists and turns lie ahead in what has been an enthralling competition to date.