Anderson falls just short of greatness
JOHN ANDERSON was a wicket away from becoming only the second Ireland opener to carry his bat in a first-class match yesterday before he was last man out in a total of 180 against South Africa A.
The Merrion captain then showed his all-round ability by claiming a wicket -- and Max Sorensen grabbed two in two balls -- as the tourists closed on 101-4 at the halfway stage of the four-day match in Bready, Co Tyrone.
After the first day was washed out, Ireland surprisingly chose to bat first and quickly slipped to 25-4 against a hostile attack before a fifth-wicket stand of 109 between Anderson and skipper Kevin O'Brien revived the innings.
O'Brien fell for 58 but Anderson, who had taken 37 balls to get off the mark, soldiered on and was on the brink of emulating George Morrow's feat against Philadelphia in 1909 when he was caught behind for 68.
Meanwhile, Ireland were eliminated from the U-19 World Cup after losing their second group game to hosts Australia by six wickets.
In a game similar to their opening defeat by England, a disciplined performance with the ball and in the field was not enough to defend a well below-par total of 129 all out in 42.5 overs.
Opener Ryan Hunter top-scored with 31, while skipper George Dockrell bowled six maidens to finish with excellent figures of 1-10 from his 10 overs.
Ireland have a final group match against Nepal that will determine their draw in the Plate competition, which begins in Brisbane at the weekend.
Andrew Balbirnie, the Pembroke all-rounder who captained the U-19s at the 2010 World Cup, could make his county championship debut for Middlesex today after being named in a 13-man squad to play Surrey at the Oval.