Bready's Reece Kelly is the hero as Ireland win two-wicket thriller
Ireland's hopes of reaching the Under-19 World Cup finals next year received a huge boost in Jersey yesterday with a thrilling two wickets win over Scotland.
The victory, achieved with just two balls to spare, puts Ireland two points ahead in the table but the teams meet again on Monday and, assuming both Ireland and Scotland win their next two games, a Scottish victory would leave the one European place at the finals in New Zealand to be decided on run-rate.
But having got over the finishing line in such dramatic circumstances, Ireland will be the more confident team going into the final qualifying game.
In an incredible turnaround yesterday, the Scots reached 170 before they lost their first wicket in the 36th over and Ireland then restricted them to 231 for eight with Graeme Kennedy again the bowling star with the first three wickets to start the collapse.
Ireland's reply slumped to 69 for four and 160 for six but Neil Rock with a 46-ball 53 in a seventh wicket stand of 63 with Josh Little almost got them home. Rock was stumped eight short of victory and Little caught off the last ball of the penultimate over with just two to win. But Bready's Reece Kelly's first run was the winning one.
Meanwhile, the Ireland Wolves were frustrated by the weather with four interruptions reducing the second day's play by more than two hours. It left Ireland still eight runs behind with seven first innings wickets remaining going into the last day.
The frustration started early with the last two Scottish wickets adding 66 to their overnight total before Andy McBrine ended the innings in his first over. The other wicket was taken by Nathan Smith who finished with a deserved five-for.
Sean Terry was the most impressive of the Wolves batsmen, hitting six fours and two sixes in his 78 from 112 balls but Jack Tector failed to build on his century against Scotland A, caught behind for 20 and Andrew Balbirnie fared only four runs better despite facing 60 balls.
Niall O'Brien has already been dropped while George Dockrell, playing for MCC, had one huge leg before appeal turned down but had to be satisfied with eight parsimonious overs.
Under-19 World Cup Qualifying: Scotland 231-6 (50 overs, S Shah 92, C Garden 81; G Kennedy 3-31) Ireland 232-8 (49.4 overs, N Rock 53, G Kennedy 43, J Little 37, M Donegan 23, M Topping 20; I Malik 3-37). Ireland U19s won by 2 wickets.
MCC Young Cricketers 1st innings
K van Vollenhoven not out 30
L Hurt c Balbirnie b Smith 8
J Duffy c Smith b McBrine 9
Extras (4b 3lb 2w) 9
Total (59 overs) 165
Bowling: C Young 7-1-39-1, P Chase 15-4-36-1, N Smith 16-6-32-5, K O'Brien 8-1-30-1, S Thompson 5-3-5-1, J Mulder 7-3-13-0, A McBrine 1-0-3-1
IRELAND WOLVES 1ST INNINGS
S Terry c Cross b Duffy 78
J Tector c Cross b Hurt 20
A Balbirnie b Duffy 24
J Anderson not out 20
N O'Brien not out 12
Extras (2nb 1w) 3
Total (3 wkts, 48 overs) 157
Bowling: L Hurt 12-1-44-1, J Duffy 16-3-52-2, A Hazeldine 6-1-27-0, F Allen 4-0-10-0, G Dockrell 8-1-11-0, K Van Vollenhoven 2-0-13-0