Irish and Dutch edge out Scotland
Scotland missed out on a place in the World Cup Qualifiers on net run-rate after a tense final day in the European Under-19 Championships
It would scarcely have been possible to devise a more exciting conclusion to the European Under-19 Championships, as Scotland's victory over Ireland and Netherlands' win against Guernsey produced a three-way tie at the top of the table.
With only two teams to progress to the Under-19 World Cup Qualifier in Canada in September, there was great tension as the net run-rate calculations were checked and rechecked before it was announced that the Dutch had squeezed past Scotland and into second spot despite the Scots' heroic efforts against Ireland.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Shane Getkate soon had them in trouble, dismissing openers Oli Hairs and Freddie Coleman, both for 8. The Scots continued to lose wickets at regular intervals, and it was not until Craig Wallace and Willie Rowan added 55 for the seventh wicket that they were able to put together a really significant stand.
The Irish spinners again bowled well, Lee Nelson taking two for 44 in his ten overs and George Dockrell one for 27, but it was seamer Eddie Richardson who claimed the crucial wicket of Wallace, who had made a steady 80-ball 52. With Andrew Balbirnie cleaning up the tail to claim three for 26 Scotland were all out for 179 in the 46th over, and Ireland could be pretty pleased with their work so far.
There was time for 11 overs before lunch, and with an out-of-form Paul Stirling trying to hit his way out of trouble Ireland moved briskly to 46 before he fell to Rowan. That triggered a remarkable turn of fortune, Andrew Balbirnie and Ben Ackland following in successive overs to leave the Irish tottering on 51 for 3 at the interval.
Nelson followed immediately afterwards, and despite a solid effort from James Shannon, who made 37 before he was eventually ninth out, Ireland never really looked like getting back into the game. The Scottish seamers found life in the pitch which their Irish counterparts had been unable to locate, and with skipper Calvin Burnett taking four for 19, Rowan three for 38 and Matthew Parker two for 34, they maintained enough pressure to ensure that Ireland's innings closed on 117 in the 31st over.
It was a fine performance, but whether it would be enough to take the Scots to Canada depended on events at Les Quennevais, where Netherlands were playing Guernsey.
The islanders made a good start, openers Richard Angliss and Robbie Le Corre putting on 48 for the first wicket, but it took an innings of 37 from Adam Martel to see them through to 142 before they were all out, Andy Hutchinson being unable to bat because of an injury sustained during the warm-up. Alexei Kervezee was the main wicket-taker with 3 for 27, while leg-spinner Lucas Brouwers claimed 2 for 27.
Guernsey were given some hope when treble-centurion Kervezee edged Matthew Breban to the keeper when he had made only 20, and Vinoo Tewarie fell the same way two balls later, but then Stijn Allema and Tim Gruijters took over, adding 105 in an unbroken third-wicket stand which saw their side to victory in the 25th over. Allema finished with 65, made from 74 balls with 9 boundaries, while Gruijters made 41 from 60 balls with 4 fours.
And in the end, it proved to be enough: with Ireland clear winners on net run rate despite their final-day defeat, The Netherlands on +1.45 had a margin of 0.2 over Scotland and took that vital second place.
At College Field, meanwhile, Jersey won the battle for fourth, beating Denmark by 59 runs. Opener John Borg top-scored for the hosts with a patient 49 and was last man out as Jersey compiled 138 in 40.3 overs, Mohsin Ali the most successful of the Danish bowlers with 3 for 33. Denmark were never in the hunt after slumping to 21 for 4, and with Charles Perchard taking three for 8 they were dismissed for 79 in just 28.2 overs.