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Eastwood is rewarded for catching Simmons’ eye

Allan Eastwood just happened to be in the right place at the right time last week and his performance for Ireland A, against MCC, has elevated the Pembroke opening bowler into the starting line-up for the Intercontinental Cup match against Netherlands at Rathmines, starting tomorrow (11am).

It helped that national coach Phil Simmons was in attendance at College Park and original choice Craig Young is the latest to join Ireland’s chronic injury list but at 30-years-old it proves it is never too late to break into the international arena.

“He is still raw but he looked better than Young at Trinity and it’s up to him to and show me what he can do.

“He needs to get his length sorted out but there is something about him,” said Simmons yesterday.

Eastwood gets his chance because of injuries to Young and Phil Eaglestone while Boyd Rankin is playing for Warwickshire.

However, with an attack of Trent Johnston, Kevin O’Brien, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell and Albert van der Merwe, the new cap will have plenty of experience around him and, more important, back-up if things go wrong.

The batting strength has also lost William Porterfield to county duty, which is unfortunate given his sparkling form of later, as well as Niall O’Brien and Andrew Poynter to injury, so James Hall gets another chance to consolidate his place in the team.

He may have scored only 28 runs in three innings at the World League but he was still the best of the openers on view and Simmons has confirmed he will retain that position, with Paul Stirling, when Ireland bat.

Stirling (right) has had only one innings — Carrickfergus on Saturday — since the last international, against Bangladesh four weeks ago because of back spasms, but is fit to take his place.

Ireland: T Johnston (capt), P Stirling, J Hall, A Cusack, G Wilson, K O’Brien, A White, J Mooney, A van der Merwe, G Dockrell, A Eastwood.

l Just a total of 50 overs were possible because of rain on the first day of Ireland A’s game against Gloucestershire II in Bristol yesterday.

The county side finished on 122 for two with Shane Getkate taking both wickets. Eugene Moleon, on his Irish debut bowled nine overs for 26.

Starting tonight: Henderson Properties Senior League One (6.30pm): Fox Lodge v Strabane.

Also today: Ireland Under 17s v Scotland Under 17s (Glendermott 11am).

The teams meet again tomorrow at Eglinton and back at Glendermott on Thursday.

Belfast Telegraph


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