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It's crunch time for Ireland U19s' World Cup hopes

By Ian Callender

Ireland have set up a likely winner-takes-all match against Scotland to decide the qualifier for the Under-19 World Cup finals in South Africa in January.

The only two unbeaten teams meet in Voorburg today in their penultimate group games and with Ireland facing winless France on Thursday and the Scots playing Denmark, who have beaten only France, final day wins should be a formality.

Ireland came out on the right side yesterday after the toughest of their first three games, but the 69-run victory over hosts Netherlands was perfect preparation.

Their total of 213-8 was the lowest of the week, but it included two half-centuries from Will Smale and Alex Stiles.

Stiles was brought in for Instonians' Olly Metcalfe and the third Rush player hit 53 with three fours and two sixes.

Top scorer for the second time was Smale, who hit 60 from 101 balls after Ireland had lost openers Nathan McGuire and Marcus Poskitt for ducks.

The acceleration came from James Hunter, who hit 26 from 20 balls.

When Holland reached 118-4 in the 35th over, the result was still in the balance, but Hunter changed that. He broke the fifth-wicket stand of 78 with his fourth delivery and followed up with two more wickets.

At the other end, YMCA spinner Mitchell Thompson trapped top scorer Kevin van der Geest leg before and then finished the match with six overs to spare.

SCORES - Schiedam: Ireland U19s 213-8 (50 overs, W Smale 60 A Stiles 53, T Tector 38, J Hunter 26 not out; R Elenbaas 3-37, P Jacod 2-43) Netherlands U19s 144 (44 overs, K van der Geest 48, N Gigani 42; J Hunter 3-14, A Neary 3-17, M Thompson 2-31). Ireland won by 69 runs.

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