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ECB Development Women's XI 106 for 3 (MacLeod 42*, HE Whelan 1-7) beat Ireland 105 (Delany 36, Hartley 3-8) by seven wickets
ECB Women's Development XI cruised to a seven-wicket victory against Ireland to win the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier competition in Stirling.
Continuing their impressive form after defeating Scotland the game before, captain Jo Cook won the toss and put Ireland into bat on a surface looking helpful for the bowlers. A sensible decision soon seemed inspired when ECB Women's Development XI ran through the Ireland top order to leave them floundering on 72 for 5. It was Deanna Cooper who made the initial breakthrough, trapping Eamer Richardson in front and thereafter it was a procession.
Laura Delany tried her best to stand firm while wickets tumbled around her but when she fell for 36 to become the first of three wickets for Alex Hartley, there was not much left for Ireland. Only the top three reached double figures as Ireland were bundled out for 105.
The ECB Development XI made the conditions look far more benign as they rattled off the total in just over 26 overs, losing three wickets along the way. Fran Wilson (35) led the way before before Kathryn Doherty (13) joined MacLeod at the crease to hit the winning runs.
MacLeod was untroubled throughout and hit five boundaries in her unbeaten 42 to carry the side to the title. "We kept them down to a good run rate early, the pitch made it hard for them to get our spinners away," she said after the match. "We started reasonably steady, but with our top order putting away the bad ball we managed to keep the run rate ticking over. I'm really happy with the win, it's great how we have progressed as a team throughout the tournament."
Reflecting on the performance of the side throughout the competition Paul Shaw, the ECB performance manager, said: "This tournament has provided us with a number of great opportunities for our young players. It has been very pleasing to see the players progress both as individuals and cricketers, cumulating with a professional performance against Ireland today.
I would like to thank Phil Hudson and the ICC for organising this tournament and giving the ECB this very importance development opportunity."