Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Young's stunning debut lifts Irish

What a start: Craig Young took four wickets on Ireland debut against Scotland at Clontarf

Craig Young put three years of injury and frustration behind him in 13 overs to take four wickets on his international debut as Ireland took control of the Intercontinental Cup game against Scotland in Clontarf.

At the end of a rain-shortened first day, Ireland were just 103 runs behind, with all 10 first innings wickets standing, after bowling out the Scots for 138.

Young, who took three wickets in his first six overs, was the leading wicket-taker and shared a magnificent seven with Graeme McCarter who had the remarkable figures of three for 13 from 12 overs in his first Ireland appearance in two years.

Young, like Boyd Rankin before him, from the Bready club, and McCarter were joined in the team by a second debutant, Donemana all-rounder Andy McBrine, and with William Porterfield leading the side, the North West had four players in an Ireland team for the first time since 2001.

But this was Young's day. Coming to the end of his third season with Sussex, the county have seen him in action for about three months in that time because of injury and he is now waiting and hoping they have seen enough to reward him with a new contract.

Certainly if Sussex coach Mark Robinson had been present yesterday, he could only have been impressed, especially in a hostile first spell. He had opener Freddie Coleman caught at backward point in his third over and then, with the ball of the day, ripped through the defence of Scotland captain Preston Mommsen.

Two balls later, he did the same to the dangerous Richie Berrington and Scotland were 33 for four.

As Young admitted afterwards, it was a day which he thought would never arrive.

"I was in the squad for the 2010 European Championships but got injured before the first warm-up match and was the water-carrier for all that trip," he said.

"I had a stress fracture of the back in 2011 and last year I had a stress fracture of my hip.

"The most frustrating thing was that I was never given a reason why I got it, the specialist didn't know, but it was me written off for six months.

"Last winter was the hardest training I've ever done but seeing the young guys come through at Sussex made me more determined to fight for my place.

"But I am now a lot fitter and a lot stronger and am fully focused on what I want to achieve.

"If I keep asking questions and knocking on the door, you never know what lies ahead."

McCarter will have similar thoughts after also upstaging Max Sorensen and Kevin O'Brien in Ireland's four-man attack.

The former Fox Lodge bowler – now getting first-team game time with Gloucestershire – had to wait until his fifth over for his first wicket, and although that spell was interrupted by another rain delay, he returned to claim two more wickets in six overs with just three scoring shots.

Porterfield and Paul Stirling scored at a run-a-ball in the final 25 minutes and will be looking to build a commanding first innings lead.

* England must win the final two matches to prevail in the NatWest Series, after rain prevented a result at Edgbaston.

Only 15.1 overs were possible in Birmingham – where England stumbled to 59 for three – before forecast bad weather set in.