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Ireland's winning run ends with heavy downpour


By Ian Callender

Rain halted Ireland's winning run in Pretoria with their penultimate game against Scotland abandoned just nine balls short of a result.

Ireland, defending 259 for eight, reduced the Scots to 28 for three with the help of two wickets in two balls for Peter Chase, and although Scotland had recovered to 87 for three when the downpour arrived, they were still 10 runs behind the par score.

In a much-changed Ireland side, William Porterfield was given a rest, with the captaincy handed to Gary Wilson, and Northern Knights skipper James Shannon played his first game of the tour, opening with Niall O'Brien.

Simi Singh batted at No.4 and Eglinton's Stuart Thompson, who is not in the 15-man World Cup qualifying squad, flew up from Port Elizabeth where, along with North West Warriors team-mate Craig Young, he is attending a training camp with former Ireland coach Adi Birrell.

Thompson was brought in to "cover for a few niggles" and to share the all-rounders' work-load, primarily for Barry McCarthy who is now the only squad member who has yet to appear on the tour.

Ireland manager Chris Siddle said: "Barry had been unable to bowl at 100% intensity but has been working in the nets and acting as substitute fielder."

Shannon was out in the sixth over for six, but Singh had the highest scoring rate of Ireland's top six, hitting 35 off 43 balls, which bettered top scorer Kevin O'Brien.

But even after O'Brien was seventh out for 62 and Andy McBrine followed just four balls later, Thompson (18 not out) and Tim Murtagh (12 not out) scored 33 from the last four overs.

Ireland play Hong Kong on Friday before flying to Zimbabwe for the Qualifiers.

Another match has been added to their summer calendar with Sussex hosting an Ireland XI on Sunday, June 24 as part of Ed Joyce's testimonial year.

The Twenty20 game at Arundel will be used as preparation for the two T20 internationals against India at Malahide that week.

Meanwhile, CIYMS have re-signed James Cameron-Dow, the South African slow left arm bowler who played for the Belmont club in 2015, after two years with North Down.

Cameron-Dow has been back in his native South Africa for the last two years but the Irish passport-holder will be keen to impress new Ireland coach Graham Ford and stake a claim as Ireland enter the Test match arena.

Scores: Ireland XI 259-8 (50 overs, K O'Brien 62, A Balbirnie 44, S Singh 35, N O'Brien 31; S Sharif 3-39) Scotland XI 87-3 (18.3 overs; M Cross 54 not out; P Chase 2-35). Match abandoned - Rain

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