Chris Dougherty struck a blistering hundred for Ireland, and Calum MacLeod took four wickets for Scotland, as the arch-rivals set up a must-win match in the European Under-19 World Cup qualifier in Belfast yesterday.
Dougherty hit a fine 131 to help Ireland beat Denmark by 174 runs at Osborne Park while MacLeod picked up 4 for 36 at a crucial stage to bowl Scotland to a tense 26-run victory over Netherlands at Stormont.
The results mean that Ireland and Scotland, with two wins each from as many games, will now meet on Thursday with the winner qualifying for the Under-19 World Cup next year.
Dougherty stroked 16 fours in his 137-ball knock to steer Ireland to 301 for 8 after they had won the toss. Dougherty, who came into this tournament after scoring more than 600 runs in senior club cricket, featured in two big partnerships. Opening the innings with Paul Stirling (42 off 48 balls with five fours), he put on 94 runs, and 113 for the second wicket with Graham McDonnell. Ireland then reduced Denmark to 34 for 4, a position from which they couldn't recover with James Hall picking up 4 for 22 as they were bowled out for 127.
The tricky batting conditions at Osborne Park were matched at Stormont where Scotland held their nerve to beat Netherlands by 26 runs. Scotland's 208 for 4 was compiled thanks to Ryan Flannigan's dogged 56 and a late-order burst from MacLeod (21 off 12).
Netherlands looked dead and buried when they slumped to 69 for 6 but Stijn Aleema and Tim Gruijters lifted the spirits with a seventh-wicket partnership of 69. MacLeod then returned for his second spell and took three quick wickets to end Netherlands' innings for 182 in 48.4 overs. MacLeod finished as the pick of Scotland bowlers with 4 for 36 while Charles Legget took 2 for 39.