Salomons ton downs ECB XI
Netherlands 245 for 4 (Salomons 100*, Rambaldo 44) beat ECB Development XI 244 (MacGregor 89, Wilson 76, Braat 3-24) by six wickets
Caroline Salomons' first century for Netherlands launched her team's run in the European Women's World Cup Qualifiers in stunning fashion as they chased down the ECB Development XI's competitive 244 with more than three overs to spare.
Having won the toss, the Dutch must have wondered about the wisdom of asking their opponents to bat first when the ECB side rattled along at almost five runs an over despite being bowled out just short of a full 50 overs. But Salomons, with excellent support from Helmien Rambaldo and Marijn Nijman, completely dominated the bowling, reaching her century at better than a-run-a-ball as she struck the match-winning boundary off Deanna Cooper in the 47th over.
The ECB innings got off to a stuttering start, Marloes Braat grabbing two wickets in her opening spell while Mariska Kornett and Esther Lanser picked up a wicket apiece to reduce the ECB XI to 34 for 4. But Fran Wilson and Beth MacGregor's fifth-wicket stand changed the complexion of the game completely as they put together a highly entertaining partnership of 122 before Wilson was dismissed for 76, made in just 85 balls and including 12 boundaries.
MacGregor continued on with good support from the lower order before she was ninth out, in the final over, for 89. She had struck eight boundaries in her 109.
The Dutch innings began quietly but soon started to pick up pace through some good stroke play and intelligent running between the wickets. Violet Warrenburg fell at 26, followed by Caroline de Groot at 46. At this stage Salomons entered the scene to partner Rambaldo and the two added 107 in even time as they took total control of the game.
Rambaldo eventually fell to Westbury for 44 but this didn't stem the flow of the Dutch innings as Nijman then joined Salomons and immediately set about the bowling, making a quick-fire 34. By the time she was well caught by a diving Hannah Phelps, only four more runs were required and it was appropriate that Salomons should bring up her hundred and win the match with her ninth boundary. Her century had taken just 98 balls.
"The pitch was quite slow so every ball was a challenge," said MacGregor. "I was happy with the way I paced my innings, we did well to recover to 244 after a low total looked on the cards. Unfortunately we weren't able to defend our total but we have learnt a lot from today, particularly the way we need to bowl and field here in our next two games."
Ireland 161 for 5 (Richardson 66, Aitken 3-38) beat Scotland 160 for 3 (Anderson 86*, White 39) by five wickets
Ireland began the qualifying competition in Stirling with a comfortable five-wicket victory over Scotland. Despite Kari Anderson's unbeaten 86, Scotland could only muster 160 for 4 after being put in by Ireland captain Heather Whelan. Eimear Richardson's 66 then guided Ireland's run chase as they passed the target with more than 13 overs to spare.
Scotland got off to a very slow start against accurate bowling by the Whelans, Heather and Jill. Catherine Smaill was soon trapped in front of her stumps by Heather and then two wickets fell in quick succession to reduce Scotland to 31 for 3 after 17 overs.
However, it was to be a long time before Ireland had any further success as the remainder of the Scottish innings belonged to skipper Anderson, who made an unbeaten 86 from 148 balls. Her partnership with Kathryn White began slowly but gradually gained in momentum as they put on 103 before White was bowled for 39 by Jill Whelan in the 46th over.
Ireland lost their first wicket at 15 when Laura Delany was bowled by Leigh Kasperek. Isobel Joyce joined Richardson and they advanced the total to 36 in the 12th over before Joyce was caught by Tams. When the third wicket, that of Jill Whelan, fell at 62 in the 16th over the match seemed to be well-poised.
However, Richardson had other ideas and she began to score freely all round the wicket. By the time she was dismissed in the 34th over she had passed a well-paced half-century and her side was within 12 runs of victory.