Belfast Telegraph

Cricket: Call-ups for Hall and Balbirnie but Irish taste defeat

By Ian Callender

James Hall, the Waringstown batsman, and Andrew Balbirnie, the captain at the Under-19 World Cup side this year, have been called into the Ireland 15 for the World Cricket League which starts next Thursday.

They replace Gary Wilson who returns to Surrey and the injured Andre Botha.

It leaves Ireland with just 10 players with significant experience going into the tournament against the other five Associate nations but at least in Holland they are unlikely to come up against the class of Devon Smith and Andre Fletcher.

The two West Indians, with 46 ODIs appearances between them, added 130 for the second wicket to allow the strong Caribbean A side to breeze past Ireland’s 217 with almost 12 overs to spare for a 2-0 win in the series.

Smith was out for 114, from 101 balls, just three runs shy of the winning post, but Fletcher was 81 not out after ending the match with the classiest of his 12 fours.

On another excellent Stormont wicket, the Ireland batsmen even enjoyed success against Andre Russell, who had taken six wickets in the first match, but David Bernard, who has played in three Tests, finished with three for 24 as the innings folded tamely with four overs unused.

Despite the loss of Wilson, Paul Stirling and Rory McCann for an aggregate of nine runs, Ireland recovered from 29 for three to 161 for four, losing skipper Kevin O’Brien, for 37 (five fours and the game’s only six) off 43 balls in an dominant 27 overs as they repeatedly found the boundary and rotated the strike.

They did everything that was missing in 90 overs of batting against Australia last week and in Wednesday’s 50 runs defeat.

Unfortunately it couldn’t last and the last six wickets fell for 56 runs. The biggest disappointment was the tame dismissals of Ireland’s top scorers, Andrew Poynter and Andrew White. First Poynter drove Imran Khan straight to long-on and then with more than six overs still to bat, White presented a simple catch to mid-wicket.

Still, Poynter’s 64 was his first one-day half century and White’s 56 his second of the week but both know more was needed, although they could have done with extra help from the experienced Alex Cusack, bamboozled by spin, and John Mooney who came down the wicket to the slow bowler and was stumped.

Trying to defend a total at least 50 runs below par on a pitch getting flatter proved an impossible task with Phil Eaglestone’s first two overs going for 30 runs.

O’Brien tried 20 overs of spin but only Albert van der Merwe, with his first wicket for Ireland, was successful although George Dockrell will be better for 10 overs post-examinations under his belt.

Metal Technology Twenty20 Cup

At Pollock Park, Waringstown beat Lurgan by nine wickets

Lurgan 85-8 (V Mpitsang 3-9, K McCallan 2-11) Waringstown 88-1 (15.1 overs, L Nelson 36 not out, J Hall 33 not out).

At The Meadow, North Down beat Downpatrick by eight wickets

Downpatrick 125-8 North Down

126-2 (D Harding 60 not out, D Graham 39 not out).

Semi-final draw: Muckamore v Instonians, Waringstown v CIYMS. Ties to be played on Sunday July 18.

Ulster Shield Semi-final draw:

Dundrum v Saintfield or Armagh, Cliftonville v Laurelvale.

To be played July 18.

Belfast Telegraph

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