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Ireland keen to line up Tri-series at Malahide

 

On target: Decker Curry won the T20 Cup for Ardmore
On target: Decker Curry won the T20 Cup for Ardmore

By Ian Callender

Ireland are lining up a Tri-series with Netherlands and Scotland next month to replace the Euro T20 Slam which was called off last month.

Malahide was due to host the final stages of the Slam from September 13-22 and with that window now available - and with the co-operation of the host club - that is the likely venue for the international T20 action for the three nations who are keen for match preparation ahead of the T20 World Cup qualifiers in the UAE the following month.

As ever, the finance of the series is the only obstacle - the reason behind the late cancellation of the first edition of the Slam - but Cricket Ireland are working hard to make the series happen.

Ireland and Netherlands are assured of meeting in Oman on October 5, the first day of a five-nation T20 tournament also involving Nepal, Hong Kong, now coached by former Ireland captain Trent Johnston, and the hosts, but Ireland still need to finalise their 15-man squad for that series and the qualifiers, which follow immediately afterwards - and, for now, there is no more top level competition for the selectors before then.

A decision on the Tri-Series will be announced this week.

The urgency of seeing the players in action was increased by the loss of all six games in the final T20 festival of the season at Bready - the ground so wet after last week's rain that yesterday's two games were called off on Saturday afternoon.

The wash-outs confirmed Northern Knights as the T20 champions, their first inter-provincial title since they won the 50-over cup in 2013, based on the results of the only three completed games at Pembroke in June, when Knights beat all three opponents.

The North West weather washed out both Ardmore's cup matches, but they still reached one final and won the Eric Cooke Cup yesterday in bowl-outs.

On Saturday, they defeated Burndennett in the Sam Jeffrey Shield semi-final 2-0 and they repeated the scoreline in the White Horse Blast T20 Championship final against Fox Lodge at Beechgrove. Decker Curry was the common link, hitting the stumps in both games, with former Ireland team-mate Gary Neely also on target yesterday.

In the two-innings Sam Jeffrey final, which starts on Friday, Ardmore will meet Newbuildings at Ballymagorry.

Woodvale may still need to win three of their last four games to win promotion back to the Robinson Services Premier League after losing their rearranged game against Armagh yesterday by three runs.

Victory for the north Belfast club would have left them big favourites for a return to the top flight for the first time since 2009 but in a match two situation, a delayed start reduced the game to 14 overs and was subsequently cut to 12 overs.

The day after Woodvale won by 17 runs at The Mall, in reply to Armagh's 76-4 Woodvale, set 79 to win, were 30-1 off four overs, but collapsed to 75-6 as Neil Gelston took three wickets for one run in his last over.

Cregagh, who still have to play the leaders twice, are now Woodvale's main contenders after moving up to third place, 12 points behind with two games in hand, after beating Downpatrick in a 20-over game by five wickets. It leaves Downpatrick - one of NCU's most famous clubs - in danger of relegation to Section Two. They are just two points above basement side Holywood, each with three games to play.

YESTERDAY'S SCORES The Meadow: Downpatrick 106-6 (20 overs, C Boultwood 49, R Smyth 28; A Beattie 3-15) Cregagh 107-5 (17.5 overs, J Moore 48, A Johnston 30 not out; R Boultwood 3-12). Cregagh won by 5 wickets.

Ballygomartin Road: Armagh 76-4 (12 overs, R Krankjar 28) Woodvale 75-6 (12 overs, W Horwood 38; N Gelston 3-12). Armagh won by 3 runs (DLS).

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