George Dockrell is the latest Ireland player heading to county cricket in England.
The Leinster slow left-armer, is expected to celebrate his 18th birthday on Thursday by signing a two-year contract with Somerset. He was due to play his first game for the county yesterday, a specially arranged Twenty20 match to test the new pitch at Bath.
Ever since Dockrell impressed at the World Twenty 20 — he took three for 16 in his four overs against the West Indies and conceded just 19 against eventual champions England — it has been only a question of where not when he would be turning professional and with Cricket Ireland’s operations director Mark Garaway’s connections at Taunton, Dockrell has opted for Somerset.
“My ambitions are to keep making progress with Ireland, but also to get into the county first team by developing all aspects of my game,” said Dockrell.
It is expected that his contract will be on the same terms as Paul Stirling’s with Middlesex, giving Ireland first call on the teenager’s services. Dockrell, despite being making his international debut on the tour of Sri Lanka just six months ago, has already played 26 games, taking 37 wickets at an average of 18.2.
Meanwhile, Reinhardt Strydom ensured the Ireland squad finished the European Championships in Jersey on a winning note with a century as the A team beat their Scottish counterparts by four wickets. But the islanders won their first European title with a 100 per cent record.
Strydom, who hit 10 fours and two sixes, was caught behind off a mis-timed pull for 108, with Ireland just six runs from victory as they chased down the Scots’ 235 for nine with 13 balls to spare.
Niall McDonnell shared in an opening stand of 90 with Strydom and Rory McCann, with an unbeaten 32 from 33 balls, saw them home after James Shannon, Stuart Thompson and Andrew Balbirnie fell for 31 runs.
Scotland A started quickly (71 off 13) but were reined in by the four slow bowlers before hitting 71 off the last seven overs.
Scores: Scotland A 235-9 (E Chalmers 61; A van der Merwe 3-34, R Strydom 2-49) Ireland A 236-6 (47.5 overs, R Strydom 108, N McDonnell 38, R McCann 32 not out, J Shannon 23). Ireland A won by four wickets.
Henderson Properties Senior League One: At Strabane Park, St Johnston 148-7 (38 overs, D Macbeth 47, S Lapsley 20; T Barr 2-25) v Strabane. Continues tonight at 6.30pm.
Also tonight: Fox Lodge v Limavady.
Metal Technology Twenty20 Cup semi-final (6pm): Instonians v Muckamore.