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Rock helps smash Ireland youngsters to victory

 

Rock solid: Ireland under-19 skipper Neil Rock
Rock solid: Ireland under-19 skipper Neil Rock

By Ian Callender

Ireland under-19 coach Ryan Eagleson was delighted with his side's first match action since his World Cup qualifying squad was selected last week.

They defeated Worcestershire Academy at Dumbleton yesterday by seven wickets in the first of two 50-over games, with skipper Neil Rock and new face William Smales seeing them home with an unbeaten partnership of 61.

Bready's Marcus Poskitt and Instonians' Olly Metcalfe got the Irish off to a fast start in reply to their hosts' 169 with a first wicket stand of 63, and although Poskitt was stumped immediately after bringing up his 50 in 43 balls (seven fours and two sixes), Rock picked up the momentum, his 42 not out coming off 29 balls with five fours and two sixes.

Earlier, it was the young YMCA spin twins, Jamie Forbes and Mitchell Thompson, who impressed with combined figures of 4-49 from 18 overs, and Instonians' James Hunter picked up the last two wickets. There were also three run outs.

Scores: Worcestershire Academy 169 (41 overs, J Banton 52; J Hunter 2-3, J Forbes 2-23, M Thompson 2-26) Ireland U19s 170-3 (23.2 overs, M Poskitt 50, N Rock 43 not out, W Smales 34 not out, O Metcalfe 26). Ireland U19s won by 7 wickets

The first of the Lagan Valley Steels T20 trophy semi-finals takes place tonight at The Meadow with Downpatrick hosting Derriaghy for a place in the final, which will now be staged as a stand-alone at a date and venue to be confirmed.

Cregagh are hoping the other semi-final will be played at Gibson Park Avenue tomorrow, but last night Woodvale had yet to agree to the date.

The original schedule had the Trophy final taking place immediately before the T20 Cup final between CIYMS and Waringstown at The Lawn on Monday July 15, but the Premier League clubs did not want to play three days in a row so have agreed a new date of Friday, July 26.

That, though, clashes with the third day of the Lord's Test match, so many spectators who would otherwise have attended the popular final will likely be in London that week.

Elsewhere, Derriaghy completed the quarter-final line-up in the Irish National Cup with an eight wickets victory over Cregagh on Sunday.

An unbeaten 57 from Craig Lewis saw the Queensway side past Cregagh's 141, which included 37 from their captain Aaron Johnston. Derriaghy's reward is a trip to east Cork to face Midleton on Sunday, July 14.

The final of the third NCU T20 competition, for teams in Section Two and Three, is between Laurelvale and Cliftonville Academy and that has been confirmed for next Tuesday, with Laurelvale having won the toss for choice of venue.

CIYMS II will have home advantage all the way if they remain in the Ulster Plate after the other two NCU survivors exited at the quarter-final stage.

With CI playing their rearranged Premier League game against Waringstown last Sunday, the Plate game against Donemana II was postponed until this Sunday, and victory would give them a home semi-final against Fox Lodge II two weeks later. The other semi-final will be between Eglinton II and Bonds Glen II, the latter going through after Civil Service North II did not travel on Sunday.

In the games that were played, Eglinton II beat North Down by just eight runs (189-181) and Fox Lodge II stunned Waringstown II, passing their 143 in the 24th over with seven wickets down.

The Under-15 interprovincials conclude today with NCU playing the North West at Campbell College and Leinster facing Munster at Holywood (both 10am).

Leinster will be favourites to win the competition for a third successive year after they defeated NCU yesterday by 44 runs, having defeated North West on Monday by 43 runs.

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