July 13, 2010

World Cricket League Europe Division One

Experienced sides line up for European WCL Division One

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Jeremy Bray acknowledges the applause on reaching his hundred, Canada v Ireland, Intercontinental Cup final, Grace Road, May 22, 2007
Jeremy Bray's presence adds to the experience of the Ireland side  © Martin Williamson
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The ICC European WCL Division One Championship heads to Jersey today where Denmark, Jersey and Italy line up alongside A teams from Ireland, Netherlands and Scotland.

Ireland, holders of both the European Division One and A team titles, have named a strong 14-man squad with five players from the side that played in the Global World Cricket League Division One championship in Netherlands.

Andrew Balbirnie, James Hall and Craig Young, wicketkeeper Rory McCann, and offspinner Albert van der Merwe are all named in the squad, with Balbirnie and Young having both being named in the Under-19 World Cup qualifier squad. Australia-born left-hander Jeremy Bray, who has played 83 games for Ireland offers a good balance between youth and experience.

Scotland have opted for similar balance, with three WCL Division One squad members in allrounder Moneeb Iqbal, opener Ollie Hairs and the promising Ewan Chalmers. Experience in the Scottish squad lies with batsman Qasim Sheikh and allrounder Jan Stander, both veterans of Scotland's World Cup qualifying campaign in South Africa last year, while seamer Sean Weeraratna has also played for Scotland before.

Chalmers and Hairs will be returning to Jersey, where they played last season in the Under-19 side, and other graduates of that side who will be back this time in the senior ranks are Freddie Coleman, Marc Petrie and Willie Rowan.

The Netherlands come to Jersey with captain Tim Gruijters, batsman Matthijs Luten and legspinners Lucas Brouwers and Vinoo Tewarie, who all played here last year in the Under-19 World Cup qualifiers.

They also have included the experienced pair of batsman Tom de Grooth and offspinner Adeel Raja from the WCL Division One squad. The squad also includes several players who have played in A tournaments in the past, namely Steven de Bruin, Wilfred Diepeveen and Jelte Schoonheim. The young players to watch out for in their side are the South Africa-born seamer Bernard Loots, Zachary van Baren and Tom Heggelman.

Denmark have once again opted for experience, including eight from the squad which played in the World Cup qualifier in South Africa. Michael Pedersen, the new captain, has been named alongside former skipper Freddie Klokker, seamer Henrik Hanse and David Borchersen. Allrounder Rizwan Mahmood is looking to make an impact during the tournament, alongside the youngest player in the team Hamid Shah.

Italy's squad will be led by Hementha Jayasena, and will feature six other players who took part two years ago in Ireland. They include Thushara Kurukulasuriya, Andy Northcote and experienced opening bowler Alauddin who also all took part in World Cricket League Division Four. New faces include local talents Luca Poli and Leandro Jayarajah, and Australia-born Hayden Patrizi d'Agnello and Michael Raso.

Jersey have named a number of younger players for their squad including a new captain in Peter Gough, though his predecessor Ryan Driver retains his place along with opener Dean Morrison. Following the World Cricket League Division Five in Nepal earlier this year, Jersey have brought in Tim de le Haye, Steven Blackburn and James Faudemer to try and improve their fortunes on home turf and consolidate their place in European cricket.

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