It is a fast turnaround for Shane Getkate and Jordan Coghlan this week as the Ireland A opening bowlers turn their attentions to the Under-19 European Championships which double up as a World Cup qualifying tournament.
The NCU are the hosts with the top two teams going through to the final qualifiers next summer ahead of the 2012 finals.
George Dockrell, still pondering a two-year contract with Somerset, comes home to lead the side which plays arguably their toughest game of the week first up tomorrow — Scotland at Shaw’s Bridge (11am).
Because the finals are still two years away, Ireland will have only four players who took part in the last Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand in January, namely Dockrell, Getkate, Coghlan and Graeme McCarter.
That quartet, boosted by Donemana’s Andy McBrine should ensure the bowling is the strongest in the competition but the batting offers one of the more inexperienced Ireland line-ups with much still to prove.
In all 13 grounds are being used with Ireland also playing Guernsey at Stormont on Friday, Denmark at Downpatrick on Sunday, Jersey at Bangor on Monday and the Netherlands at The Lawn next Wednesday.
Limavady’s Stuart Thompson was described yesterday by Ireland A coach Jeremy Bray as a “quality player” who can make it all the way to the top.
Bray also said it was no coincidence that the arrival of the experienced Reinhardt Strydom, as replacement for injured captain Andrew Poynter, signalled an upturn in fortunes for the team, after a below-par first few matches.
He enjoyed a good partnership at the top of the order with the aggressive Niall McDonnell while Andrew Balbirnie and Rory McCann, in the last match, also impressed with the bat.
Balbirnie and Albert van der Merwe, already full internationals, were the pick of the bowlers with the latter getting “better and better” as captain as the tournament progressed but the pace bowling department was the weakest link with no-one pushing their claims for a senior call-up.
Maybe it will be different at the Under-19s.
Ireland Under-19 squad: G Dockrell (capt), R Adair, A Berry, S Campbell, J Coghlan, E Conway, A Coughlan, S Getkate, R Hunter, A McBrine, G McCarter, B McCarthy, S Olphert, J van der Merwe.
Tomorrow’s Under-19 fixtures (11am): Ireland v Scotland (Shaw’s Bridge), Jersey v Denmark (Waringstown), Guernsey v Netherlands (Carrickfergus)