Ireland Men’s Squads Announced for West Indies tour

December 4th 2019 | International, Coaching

Ireland Men’s Squads Announced for West Indies tour

This tour will see Andrew Balbirnie captain the team for the first time

DUBLIN – Cricket Ireland has today announced the Ireland Men’s One-Day International and T20 International squads for the upcoming tour to the Caribbean to play six white-ball matches against West Indies in January 2020.

The squads are:

ODI squad
• Andrew Balbirnie (Captain), Mark Adair, Gareth Delany, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, James McCollum, Kevin O’Brien, William Porterfield, Boyd Rankin, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Lorcan Tucker, Gary Wilson, Craig Young.


T20I squad
• Andrew Balbirnie (Captain), Mark Adair, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Josh Little, Barry McCarthy, Kevin O’Brien, Boyd Rankin, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Gary Wilson, Craig Young.


Graham Ford, Head Coach of Ireland Men’s cricket team, said:

“The Caribbean tour will be the start of a quite intensive year for the senior men’s team – we have tours before the start of the home season, hosting several full members in the summer, commence our participation in the ICC World Cup ODI Super League, including playing an ODI series against England, and then head to a T20 World Cup in October. These matches will be the first under Andrew Balbirnie’s leadership, so will be a great first-up challenge for him and one which I know he is looking forward to.”

“We’ve played the West Indies a few times over the last couple of years, and the two sides have built up a decent rivalry on the field - but the Windies are an altogether different proposition in their own backyard.  We have one formal warm-up game on the 4th, then it’s straight into the ODI series. Our lads will need to adapt quickly to local conditions and be ready from the outset in order to build some momentum, which is an important aspect of any series.”

“When you look at the squads selected the positive for the future is that there is a blend of experience and youth. While we’ve undergone an evolution in the senior set up over the last 12 months, I think the squads selected recognise and reward performance, and I’m pleased that the likes of Mark Adair, Gareth Delany and Harry Tector have come into the squad over the last while and look the part. There is a confidence and self-belief around the camp which comes from recent successes, and we’re looking to build on that in 2020.”

“Being our first-ever multi-format tour of the Caribbean, there is certainly a bit of a buzz around the squad and come the 7th of January, we’ll be more than ready to begin what is an exciting year in Irish cricket.”

 


Ireland Women’s Performance and Academy Squads Named for 2020

December 4th 2019 | International, Coaching, Women

Ireland Women’s Performance and Academy Squads Named for 2020

Gaby Lewis

DUBLIN – Cricket Ireland has today announced the Ireland Women’s Performance and Academy squads for 2020.

The Performance squad consists of 16 players that form the nucleus of the Ireland Women’s senior squad, while the Shapoorji Pallonji Academy squad consists of emerging players who are part of a comprehensive training and fitness programme that forms a key part of the performance pathway for aspiring women cricketers.

The squads are:

Senior Performance squad
• Kim Garth (Pembroke CC), Gaby Lewis (YMCA CC), Celeste Raack (Merrion CC), Mary Waldron (Pembroke CC), Laura Delany (Leinster CC), Shauna Kavanagh (Pembroke CC), Eimear Richardson (Northern Districts, NZ / Leinster CC), Lara Maritz (Clontarf CC), Louise Little (Pembroke CC), Rebecca Stokell (Leinster CC), Una Raymond-Hoey (Clontarf CC), Hannah Little (Pembroke CC), Leah Paul (Merrion CC), Orla Prendergast (Pembroke CC), Sophie MacMahon (Leinster CC), Cara Murray (Saintfield CC/Waringstown CC).

Shapoorji Pallonji Women’s Academy squad
• Amy Hunter (Instonians), Anna Kerrison (Malahide CC), Rachel Delaney (Merrion CC), Jane Maguire (The Hills), Caoimhe McCann (Malahide CC), Naomi Matthews (Merrion CC), Alana Dalzell (Bready CC), Georgina Dempsey (Phoenix CC), Zara Craig (Eglinton CC), Rebecca Gough (Rush CC), Louise McCarthy (Pembroke CC), Jennifer Hanna (Donaghcloney Mill CC).


Ed Joyce, Head Coach of Ireland Women’s cricket team, said:

“We’re heading into another big year for women’s cricket in Ireland, with a 50-over world cup qualifying campaign mid-year to build towards. While we’re in the off-season domestically, it has been a busy winter for many of the players, with a number of the senior squad playing club cricket in Australia, while others have been undertaking indoor skills sessions, as well as fitness and nutrition programmes.”

“One of our challenges is working with a wide number of players who are balancing their training and playing schedules with work or studies. While we are fortunate to get plenty of contact hours with the six contracted players, the amount of time and commitment the women put into their preparation and training programmes is an aspect of being a cricketer at this level that the public often under-appreciate. What I have seen to date, however, is a dedicated young squad that is keen to learn and progress. That is exciting for the future and will hopefully be rewarded by some good performances over the next 12 months.”

“This was my first experience being part of selecting squads and there were certainly some tough decisions in there. The Performance Squad is mostly made up of players that were heavily involved last summer with the national side, both in the West Indies series and in the T20 World Cup qualifiers. This was, of course, a very young side after the retirement of several senior players earlier in the year. Many of these players have moved up from the Academy Squad and this shows that you don’t necessarily have to be in the Performance Squad to get national recognition.”

“The Academy was selected based on a few criteria. The majority of the squad are players that are very close to the Performance squad and we consider close to national selection. We also included some exciting under-19 players that we think will really benefit from extra training, with an eye on a potential Under-19 World Cup in 2021.”


Will Smale reports back from Australia

December 3rd 2019 by Will Smale | International, Youth

Will Smale reports back from Australia

Will Smale training with the ICP team in Sydney

SYDNEY, Australia - Every winter in Ireland a number of Irish cricketers head abroad to play club cricket in the southern hemisphere. Working with the ICP (International Cricket Programme), 18-year old Will Smale is spending some time Down Under attached to Sydney Cricket Club.

Part of the Shapoorji Pallonji Cricket Ireland Academy, Will played in the Ireland Under-19s and North West Warriors this year. He recently updated us on his Australian stint:

“I have been in Sydney for nearly two months now and as we are entering week six of the ICP (International Cricket Programme) - it is a perfect time to reflect on how things have gone in the first half of the programme. Undoubtedly, coming to the other side of the world to play cricket is a big decision and one I was deliberating for a long time. I was lucky enough to get offered this opportunity through Cricket Ireland, with whom I have played Under-19 and first-class cricket. They put me in contact with Howard Grice (Gricey), who is the ICP Programme Director. It was clear before even meeting Gricey how much he is focused on improving any player that comes on the programme, no matter what your level of cricket, and the amount of hard work and effort that goes into the programme clearly shows that.”

“I arrived in Sydney about two weeks before the ICP started, which allowed me to explore Sydney and get over the jet lag. Not only had I achieved both of these things before we started, but I had also met some of the other boys on the programme, many of whom I had played against back at home without realising. Also, I had settled into my accommodation at Warrane College at UNSW, which was to be my home for the next 10 weeks.”

“For me, this was an ideal fit, the college has a great community feel with everyone knowing each other and to be in such a great location in the city is perfect. Finally, Gricey had placed me with Sydney CC in the Drummoyne area of the city. Sydney has been an unbelievable club so far, with probably some of the best facilities in the area, consistently used by the New South Wales state squad. The boys at the club along with Michael Haire, the Director of Cricket, have been so welcoming and my time so far playing Grade Cricket and Poidevin-Gray Shield (U21’s) has been a great experience of how Australians play cricket so differently from us at home.”


Will Smale
Image: Will training in the nets with Sydney Cricket Club

“Once the programme starts, you constantly have something to do whether that be netting, gym work, sprinting, physio, recovery or specialist skill sessions with seam, spin, fielding and wicketkeeping coaches. On a Monday, you have an all-morning session where two groups split between group batting sessions, where you work on a range of situations from short balls, to spin options or any particular area you may have struggled during the weekend and the other half have a sprint session with two specialist coaches Roger and Jack, who have worked with David Warner and Sonny Bill Williams.”

“The afternoon off is much needed as you are just starting the week especially if you had two games on the weekend. Tuesday’s start with one group working in the UNSW gym, with S&C coaches who build an individual programme for you, and the other group in Kensington Physio also on the UNSW campus. Gym programmes are also done twice a week.”

“The afternoon consists of a 1:1 batting session with Gricey, a number of assistant coaches who play grade cricket in Sydney and for us, this year, Mark Stoneman of Surrey CCC and formerly England. These sessions are open to whatever you want to work on whether that be spin, seam, white ball or an area you wish to strengthen. Gricey and the other coaches are completely flexible and open to making the session whatever you need so that what you return home next April, you are an improved player.”

“Wednesday is a busy morning - we have a full morning of rotations between different specialist skills along with everyone taking part in fielding. For me being a wicketkeeper, having specialist sessions with Dave Dawson, former NSW and Tasmania ‘keeper, allows me to discuss areas of improvement and to most importantly catch balls in a specialist environment. Thursday mornings are the opposite rotation to Tuesday mornings and, to keep the programme changing, at times Gricey will run pool recovery sessions or we will have early morning beach runs at Coogee, Bronte or Bondi as the sun rises.”

“Friday’s are the time for an optional hit. This is the day before game day and many players choose to come in and focus less on technique but more about getting in shape for the games that lie ahead on the weekend. I regularly use these sessions as it is a great way to feel in good touch going into a game on Saturday and Sunday.”

“The experience I have had to date from coming to Sydney and the ICP for the winter is incredible. I am playing around some great players, both at my club and with the boys on the programme and have already made some great memories with new friends. The opportunity to work on my game in the sun and heat, to give myself every opportunity to feel prepared for the season when I return to Ireland in a few months time is one that I am seizing. I am learning so much from the focused training programme and the experience of playing cricket in such a professional environment – so far it has been a fantastic way for me to continue to develop my game in all aspects of skill, fitness and strategy. I am looking forward to continuing this learning over the next 4 weeks.

 


Tickets go on sale for West Indies Tour

November 29th 2019 by Cricket West Indies | International

Tickets go on sale for West Indies Tour

Tickets for the six matches in the Caribbean are now on sale

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Cricket West Indies has launched the online sale of tickets for Ireland’s Tour of the West Indies in January 2020.

Fans can now visit www.windiescricket.com to make their online ticket purchases through the “Buy Tickets” button for all of the matches to be staged in Barbados, Grenada and St. Kitts for the first, full white-ball tour by Ireland to the Caribbean..

West Indies will face Ireland in three Colonial Medical Insurance One-Day Internationals (ODIs) – the first two to be played at Kensington Oval, Barbados on Tuesday, January 7 and Thursday, January 9 before playing the third on Sunday, January 12, at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada.

The two sides then contest three Twenty20 Internationals – the first on Wednesday, January 15, at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada, and the final two on Saturday, January 18, and Sunday, January 19, at Warner Park in St. Kitts.

Dominic Warne, CWI commercial director, said:

“West Indies fans in the three host territories and across the region have a wonderful opportunity to come out and get behind the team early in the New Year, as they start their final push to the ICC World Twenty20 Australia 2020 in October next year.”

“The fans can really make the difference in creating the famous Caribbean atmosphere that the players love and which fans all over the world enjoy watching on TV.”

“We’re making tickets affordable for fans, so they can come and get behind the team in their first white-ball series on home soil with Kieron Pollard as Captain and Phil Simmons as Head Coach.

“Ticket prices range from about EC$15/US$5 for the most affordable seat in Grenada and St. Kitts to BDS$50/US$25 for a premium seat in Barbados, so we urge our fans to come out and become the ‘extra player’ and give our promising teams that extra boost when they step on to the field.”

 

Balbo

 

Local box office sales start approximately two weeks in advance of each leg of the Tour with the list of opening dates being:

• Barbados: January 2 for 1st and 2nd Colonial Medical Insurance ODIs
• Grenada: January 6 for 3rd Colonial Medical Insurance ODI and 1st T20I
• St. Kitts: January 15th for 2nd and 3rd T20Is

Tickets for children aged 12 and under are free with the purchase of an adult ticket.

Senior citizens – aged 60-plus – on presentation of a form of national photo identification at local box offices are also eligible for free tickets while stocks last for all matches.

MATCH SCHEDULE

Jan 7: 1st Colonial Medical Insurance One-Day International – Kensington Oval, Barbados
Jan 9: 2nd Colonial Medical Insurance One-Day International – Kensington Oval, Barbados
Jan 12: 3rd Colonial Medical Insurance One-Day International – National Cricket Stadium, Grenada
Jan 15: 1st Twenty20 International – National Cricket Stadium, Grenada
Jan 18: 2nd Twenty20 International – Warner Park, St. Kitts
Jan 19: 3rd Twenty20 International – Warner Park, St. Kitts

 


Balbirnie assumes T20 International captaincy

November 29th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Balbirnie assumes T20 International captaincy

Andrew Balbirnie is now men's captain across the three formats

DUBLIN – Cricket Ireland has today confirmed that Andrew Balbirnie will assume captaincy of the Ireland Men’s T20 International team.

After discussions between Gary Wilson and the national selectors and with a view to the future, Balbirnie - recently announced as the new Test and ODI captain - will succeed Wilson as Ireland’s T20I captain.


Gary Wilson said:

“It was an absolute honour to be asked to captain Ireland - it was something that I dreamt about as a child. When I took on the job 18 months ago it was always the remit to qualify for the world cup and re-assess from there. I’m very much looking forward to continuing as a player and working with Balbo in the future. I think it will prove to be a great appointment and believe that it is important that he, as a captain, has control of all three sides and gets to take it in a direction that he sees fit.”


Wilson
Image: Gary Wilson in action at the recent T20 World Cup Quaifier


Andrew White, Chairman of National Men’s Selectors, said:

“Gary’s tenure as captain has been a largely successful time for the T20 squad, rising in the rankings from 18th to 14th, winning a Tri-Series and qualifying for the T20 World Cup, all while bringing through a number of exciting new players.”

“However, both Gary and the Selectors believe that Andrew Balbirnie should have the opportunity to forge his leadership style and his standards across all three formats. Whilst he was announced as Test Match and ODI captain a few weeks ago, after consultation with the selectors and Gary it was agreed by all that with similar players likely to be utilised across all formats it was important that Andrew was allowed to stamp his mark on the new generation of players coming through.”

“Gary has been an inspirational leader and our qualification was largely down to his attention to detail in planning and getting the best out of his players in a short space of time. We thank Gary for his candour and professionalism during this process. He will remain an integral part of the international setup as we continue to build this exciting group of young players.”


Graham Ford, Head Coach of Ireland Men’s cricket team, said:

“Gary has been an exceptional leader of this young squad over the last 18 months, and it has been his experience, incredible passion for Irish cricket and clarity of thinking that has been the major contribution to the team’s exciting progress over the last 18 months and qualifying for the T20 World Cup. It is a mark of Gary’s professionalism that he has understood the interests of the team, and wholeheartedly committed his full support to Andrew in his newly consolidated leadership role.”


Balbirnie’s first international match as captain will be on 7 January 2020 when Ireland takes on the West Indies in a one-day international in Barbados. Following a six-match series against the West Indies, Ireland is scheduled for tours to Sri Lanka, India to play Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, before returning to Ireland for a busy home season.


Over and Out: Tim Murtagh retires from international cricket

November 29th 2019 by Cricket Ireland | International

Over and Out: Tim Murtagh retires from international cricket

Tim Murtagh acknowledges the crowd at Lord's, 2019

DUBLIN, LONDON – As a fitting end point to a stellar career in the green, Tim Murtagh has chosen to pull up stumps in the international cricket arena, making his Lord’s Test heroics back in July as his final on-field action for Ireland.

The 38-year old seamer made his international debut for Ireland in 2012 after a fabled conversation with Ed Joyce about the London-born Murtagh’s Irish ancestry led to the Middlesex man declaring for Ireland. He received his first cap for Ireland in a one-day international against Australia in Belfast, however with the game washed out after 10 overs, it took a further two-week wait for the next match against Afghanistan for Murtagh’s first ball to be bowled in international cricket. 

Over the last eight years Murtagh appeared 97 times for the national side, claiming 142 wickets across all formats at an average of 25.54. Defying the career arc of most, it was remarked by many observers that he seemingly improved with age, and indeed 2018 was Murtagh’s best year for Ireland claiming 28 wickets in 11 matches at a miserly average of 16.32. Apart from the wickets, perhaps his most memorable moment with the ball during 2018 was when he delivered the first-ever ball for Ireland in men’s Test cricket at Malahide against Pakistan.

Murtagh then followed up his sensational season in 2018 with 23 wickets in 2019, headlined by taking his career-best figures of 5-13 against England in the Test match at Lord’s Cricket Ground. The Lambeth-raised Murtagh quipped at the time: “To be honest, I didn’t think I’d be on the away board when I first started playing but I’ll take it wherever it goes. It’s a dream for any cricketer playing a Test match here, so I’m just over the moon.”

Delightfully for Irish fans who watched on, Murtagh also posted a career-best with the bat this year, with his first half-century for Ireland in a back-against-the-wall innings in the Test match against Afghanistan.

 


Recognised for his performances by receiving the International Player of the Year at the Turkish Airlines Cricket Ireland Awards in 2018, Murtagh remarked once that his greatest regret in international cricket was that he never played in a 50-over World Cup – sustaining an injury on the eve of the 2015 World Cup, and part of the ultimately unsuccessful 2019 World Cup qualifying campaign. He did feature for Ireland in three T20 World Cups (2012, 2014, 2016) – the latter of which saw him come out of self-imposed retirement from that format of the international game that he had announced in 2015.

Murtagh has signed a two-year contract extension with Middlesex Cricket and will play red-ball cricket for the county side in 2020.

Announcing his decision, Murtagh said:

“This is a day that I have known has been coming for a few years since the ECB changed their regulations, but it hasn’t made the decision any easier. I’ve had eight great years playing international cricket and loved every minute of it. It’s sad that it has come to an end but a decision that I have made my peace with.”

“There are many people to thank for helping me on this journey. Firstly, my amazing wife Karina and the whole family who have endured many weeks/months of me away on tour living the dream. All the management and players from Cricket Ireland who have made me feel so welcome from ‘ball one’. Also, the management at Middlesex Cricket for encouraging me to play at as high a level as I could.”

“A Test Match at Lord’s against England is a great way to finish my international career and a game I will always cherish. I wish the lads all the best for the winter tours and very much hope to help out and be involved in some capacity in the future.”

“Finally, thank you for the support from everyone over in Ireland, both north and south of the border. Very much appreciated and I will be over to see everyone soon.”


Murtagh
Image: Tim Murtagh takes his first Test wicket

Graham Ford, Head Coach of the men’s international side, said:

“It’s sad to see such a great player leave our ranks, but Tim has been a model professional and a great asset to have in the dressing room. His performances on the pitch were top-class, but it is also the weight of experience and knowledge of the game that he brought to benefit young bowlers within the Irish setup that made his involvement invaluable.”

“Irish cricket made the right call when it signed Tim up back in 2012, and he can be proud of the positive impact he has had on Irish cricket. I wish Tim well in his next couple of seasons for Middlesex.”


Andrew Balbirnie, Ireland Men’s captain, said:

“While I have played with Murts since 2012, and there have been plenty of memorable moments over that time, it is what has now become his last match for Ireland that will stay with me for life. The feeling we had as a team walking out onto the turf at Lord’s on the first morning was a buzz, but standing at slip and watching Murts run in for that first ball somehow gave us a sense of confidence about the day. Saying that, we didn’t expect the morning we had, but his five-wicket haul before lunch is something that is now etched in Irish cricket folklore. Definitely Murts’ reaction when he took his fifth wicket will stay with me forever.”

“In any team you play in, especially as captain, the value of having some experienced heads around the squad is invaluable. While I won’t have Tim to call on going forward, I’ve appreciated his support and advice in the past – and his sense of humour within the camp. He is the ideal sort of teammate you need on long tours or during hard fought matches, and was a source of inspiration for many. His consistency week-in, week-out in all sorts of conditions was a huge part of some important wins. Indeed, the impact he has had on our young seam bowlers and their development cannot be underestimated.”

“I wish Tim all the best with the remainder of his playing career for Middlesex.”

Ed Joyce, former international and county cricket teammate, said:

“It goes without saying that we’re going to miss Murts massively. His quality with the ball is unquestioned, but it is also the sense of calm he brought to the side knowing exactly what you were going to get every time he ran in that we’ll also miss. In an era where pace is often regarded as the be-all and end-all, he has shown that good old fashioned line and length and relentlessness is still as good an asset as it always has been.”

“My favourite Irish cricket memory as a spectator is watching us bowl England out on the first day of the Test at Lord’s. The whole team made everyone watching so proud, but Murts in particular was absolutely top class that day. Managing to get his name on the honours board at the Home of Cricket is a quite incredible achievement.”

“Something that is also not often spoken about is the fact that he rarely got injured which is extremely unusual for a fast bowler. This shows the work he did off the field to stay fit and all those extra sessions in the gym that people on the outside wouldn’t have seen.”

“He’s also a brilliant bloke with a wicked sense of humour and the dressing room will be a very different, and less entertaining, place without him. Without doubt he has been one of Ireland’s greatest cricketers. I’m proud to have played alongside him both for Middlesex and Ireland and I hope we see him helping our younger bowlers in the future in some way. Murts, congrats on an amazing Ireland career.”


Murtagh
Image: Tim Murtagh claims another ODI wicket


Richard Holdsworth, Performance Director at Cricket Ireland, said:

“On behalf of the management and staff of Cricket Ireland I’d like to thank Tim for his eight years of service to Irish cricket. It only seems like the other day that we were organising the paperwork to allow him to declare for Ireland - while you always hope for the best when opportunities like that arise, little did we know the impact he would have on the international setup.”

“Irish cricket has been on quite a journey over the last decade, and Tim has certainly played a key role in our rise. That the Lord’s Test will be his last game for us is very appropriate, and he certainly gave a lot of Irish fans great pleasure on that first morning having written his name on the Honour’s Board before Lunch.”

“We know how hard the decision was for him, but we wish Tim, Karina and his family well. I would also like to thank Angus Fraser and all at Middlesex Cricket for their support and flexibility in working with us on Tim’s availability for internationals and tours. Cricket Ireland and Middlesex have had a great relationship over many years, and it is always appreciated when club and country can work so well together for the benefit of the player.”

Tim Murtagh - Career Statistics

  • ESPN Cricinfo
  • Cricket Archive
  • Cricket Europe

 


Steven Crothers recognised for his work with Instonians

November 12th 2019 by Cricket Ireland | International, Coaching

Steven Crothers recognised for his work with Instonians

Congratulations to Steven Crothers

DUBLIN - The Federation of Irish Sport’s annual Volunteers in Sport Awards was held at Farmleigh House in Phoenix Park today, with Instonians’ Steven Crothers recognised with an award for his volunteer work with the club over the last 12 years.

The citation read:

“Steven has held roles including coaching, social media manager, youth convenor and regional coach for his club Instonians. He devotes a huge number of hours to coach cricket and nurture the upcoming youth talent at the club. He is passionate about boys and girls participating and enjoying the sport regardless of ability or experience. Steven coaches more than cricket, he teaches the kids life skills - confidence, resilience, being part of a team, trust. He is definitely a role model and encourages the kids to try new things, take risks, and engage in multiple sports. With Steven’s approach, he has developed great loyalty with the parents and this in turn has helped drive the family and community element of the club.”

The nomination form also noted:

“Steven has also set up a winter Cricket Academy at Under-11 and Unde- 13 age groups, aimed at the Performance-level cricketers to further develop their skills, and we have record numbers on regional squads currently. The winter sessions play a big part in this. Professional coaches and players have also been engaged by Steven to make this a fantastic experience.”

We would like to congratulate Steven on this recognition and for his work helping to grow our game in the Northern Cricket Union.

Award


Tim Tector reports back from South Africa

November 11th 2019 by Tim Tector | International, Youth

Tim Tector reports back from South Africa

Tim Tector travelled to South Africa in October and is based in Durban

DURBAN, South Africa - Every winter in Ireland a number of Irish cricketers head abroad to play club cricket in the southern hemisphere. Thanks to a partnership with Futura Sports Agency in South Africa, 16-year old Tim Tector is spending some time in Durban.

Part of the Shapoorji Pallonji Cricket Ireland Academy, Tim was captain of the Under-15s Ireland team last year and played for the Ireland Under-19s at the Under-19s World Cup Qualifier tournament this year. He recently updated us on his South African stint:

“I have now been in Durban for two-and-a-half weeks now. I was greeted at the airport by Paddy Steytler, Director, Futura Sports Agency, who brought me back to their offices where I met the Futura team. Craig Yelverton is the Head Coach and Shaun Elliot is the Liaison Officer and also does some coaching.”

“Most of the time we train at a school called Ashton College which is north of Durban in a place called Ballito, but the odd time we train at Glenwood High School or at Kingsmead Stadium, which is an international venue. It is my first-time playing cricket outside of Europe, so it took me a couple of days to get used to training in the heat.”


Tector
Image: Tim has been going through intensive coaching with FSA

“Apart from the training sessions, we have early morning fitness sessions which take place either in the gym or on the beach. We also have recovery sessions every couple of days which mainly involve ice baths.”

“On our first weekend, Paddy brought us up to the Hluhluwe & Umfolozi Game Reserve. It was amazing to see all the African wildlife there and see them up close. We were very lucky to have witnessed so many animals including four of the big five - being rhino, elephants, buffalo and cheetahs.”

“We have played four games since I have been here. Two of the games were for the Futura Academy and we played against The Dolphins Academy and Glenwood High School. The other two games have been for UKZN Cricket Club and both these games were against The Dolphin’s Academy.”

“We have also had chats with Simon Trollip who is a Mindset Coach and Justin Bodill who focuses a lot on Team Culture.”

“I am really enjoying my time so far and I can’t thank Paddy and the guys at Futura enough for everything they have done for me.”


Tector
Image: And spending some time at the Kingsmead Stadium

Albert van der Merwe, National Talent Pathway Manager and Coach for Cricket Ireland, said:

“The opportunity for young players like Tim to go and live abroad, play cricket in a variety of conditions and experience different cultures is an important part of the talent pathway. Through partnerships with the likes of Futura Sports Agency, or official scholarship programmes like the one we have with Randwick-Petersham Cricket Club in Sydney, we are increasingly able to provide our up-and-coming talent experiences that will help develop more rounded, confident cricketers.”

“As Ireland tours more to a variety of countries, to have young players who have experienced those conditions and climates will be of great benefit. Tim is doing remarkably well, and we thank Paddy and the team at FSA for looking after him so well.”


Balbirnie appointed new Ireland Test and One-Day captain as Porterfield steps down

November 8th 2019 by Cricket Ireland | International, Other

Balbirnie appointed new Ireland Test and One-Day captain as Porterfield steps down

Andrew Balbirnie has been appointed the new Test and ODI captain

DUBLIN – Cricket Ireland has today announced Andrew Balbirnie as Ireland Men’s new Test and One-Day captain, succeeding the long-serving William Porterfield who has been at the helm since 2008.

Porterfield has led the senior Irish side 253 times since taking over from former skipper Trent Johnston in 2008. He has, by some considerable distance, captained the most matches for Ireland, and - at the time of stepping down - was the longest-serving current national captain in an Irish team sport.

Adding to his longevity in leadership roles, Porterfield had also led national youth sides from Under-13s level upwards, and also took the reins of an ICC Combined Associate and Affiliate XI side that played an England XI in 2012. He led Ireland to two 50-over World Cups and five T20 World Cups, but perhaps his most significant moment as captain was leading Ireland Men’s team out at its historic first-ever Test match in May 2018.

Porterfield is determined to continue playing in the international arena, and believes he now has an opportunity to support the transition to a new captain. He said:

“It has been an incredible journey, and a fantastic honour to have captained my country over the past 11 and a half years. There have been many highs, along with a few lows along the way, but I can honestly say that it has been thoroughly enjoyable. To have been able to lead Ireland out at various World Cups, through to our first Test against Pakistan, and again at Lord’s in the summer, have been but a few of these highlights. I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to have done so.”

“I feel, and in consultation with Cricket Ireland, that now is the right time to hand over that mantle. With the ODI league starting in the summer it will allow Balbo time to get into the swing of things. I feel that the selectors have made a great choice in appointing Balbo and that it has come at a great time for him personally being on top of his game, and with more to come. Having spoken to him, I know how honoured and excited he is to get going. I’m looking forward to helping and supporting Balbo in any way I can, and seeing him lead Ireland forward.”

“The one thing that I will not miss, though, is knocking on someone’s hotel door to tell them they will not be playing!”


Porty
Image: Porterfield leads the Ireland team out at Lord’s in July 2019


Dublin-born Balbirnie, 28, becomes Ireland Men’s second-ever Test captain and fifth man to captain the One-Day International side. He made his international debut in 2010, and has appeared 123 times for Ireland. Playing his club cricket with current Irish Senior Cup champions Pembroke, and an integral part of the successful Leinster Lightning squad in the Test Triangle Inter-Provincial Series, Balbirnie is also a former MCC Young Cricketer and spent six years with Middlesex County Cricket Club.

No stranger to captaincy, Balbirnie has led the Ireland Wolves numerous times, and also captained the Ireland Under-19s squad to an Under-19s World Cup in 2010.

He said:

“To be asked to captain my country is an absolute honour and one that I am very excited about as we move into a busy new year. It’s a proud moment not just for me but also for my family and everyone who has been there on my cricket journey so far - especially my coaches, teammates and friends at Pembroke Cricket Club.”

“Since 2008 William [Porterfield] has been an amazing leader on and off the field, not just to me but anyone who has been lucky to represent Ireland. Taking over from our greatest captain will certainly be a hard act to follow but one I’m looking forward to getting into. William still has a huge role to play in this team going forward and I look forward to working with him over the next couple of years.”

“We are very lucky that we are entering arguably the most exciting period to be an Irish cricketer, so to be able to lead the guys into this will be a great honour and challenge, and one that I’m looking forward to immensely.”


Balbo
Image: Balbirnie registers a century against West Indies in May 2019 - the Windies will be his first opposition as captain


Andrew White, Chair of National Men’s Selectors, said:

“William has been a remarkable captain, and we have been fortunate over such a long period to have his skills and experience to draw on. His leadership abilities on the field have been clear for all to see, but what is, and always has been, his greatest quality is his off-field leadership and support that has benefitted numerous coaches and players over a long period of time.”

“Porty has also been integral to the development of the national pathway system in Ireland, helping to shape and advise on what is now a comprehensive programme that is starting to bring through local talent and mould that next generation of Irish cricketer.”

“However, there comes a time when that baton is handed over, and in the Test and ODI formats we had identified the leadership potential in Andrew [Balbirnie] early on. Succession planning in international sport is so important these days, and Andrew has certainly developed and grown in confidence and stature over recent years. It is often said that the weight of captaincy can weigh heavy on some players, but we believe Andrew is someone who has the instincts and resolve to carry that weight and excel.”

“Over the past two years we have been on a process of transition, and with our new Test member status, entry into the Future Tours Programme, and combined with being on the cusp of entering the new ICC Cricket World Cup Super League in 2020, we believe this is a good time to for Andrew to begin his captaincy journey and we wish him well.”



Balbirnie’s first international match as captain will be on 7 January 2020 when Ireland takes on the West Indies in a one-day international in Barbados. Following a six-match series against the West Indies, Ireland is scheduled for tours to Sri Lanka, India to play Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, before returning to Ireland for a busy home season.

See Andrew Balbirnie’s playing profile and statistics here.

balbo


Cricket Ireland Club Facilities Grant 2019 – now open

November 7th 2019 by Craig Easdown | Other

Cricket Ireland Club Facilities Grant 2019 – now open

Cricket Ireland has invested €150,000 over the last three years in club facilities

Clubs are the hub of our sport and are central to the long-term sustainable development of the game in Ireland. In order to support cricket clubs around Ireland, Cricket Ireland - in partnership with provincial unions -  provides direct investment into club facilities, infrastructure and equipment through the Cricket Ireland Club Facilities Grant scheme.

The Cricket Ireland Club Facilities Grant assists cricket clubs to improve grounds, pavilions and equipment. Over the last three years €150,000 has been invested in clubs through the Club Facilities Grant.

In the last round of grants, 53 cricket clubs from across the four Provincial Unions benefitted, with projects including:

Adamstown: Sightscreens and flat sheets
Knockharley: Bowling machine and flat sheet
Laois: General groundworks and laying of new mat
Ardmore: Extension of sightscreens and purchase of germination sheets
Brigade: New PVC windows for clubhouse
Sion Mills: Artificial pitch
Derriaghy: Flat sheets and boundary rope
Donaghcloney Mill: Batting cage, flat sheets, coconut mat, germination sheets and netting
Instonians: Mobile dome cover tops and heavy duty germination sheets
Co Kerry: Toilets/showers and ground fencing
Limerick: Mower, roller, scoreboard and ground improvements
Co Galway: Clubhouse renewal

The 2019 application process is now open, with applications closing 6 December 2019.

Read more about the programme and the application process here.

 

 


1969 Sion Mills team honoured at event in Dublin

November 5th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International, Other

1969 Sion Mills team honoured at event in Dublin

Mike Reith, Dougie Goodwin, Alec O'Riordan and Ivan Anderson at the event

DUBLIN - The Ireland Men’s team from the famous match against the West Indies at Sion Mills in 1969 were honoured today at the Association of Sports Journalists in Ireland’s Legends’ Lunch.

2 July 1969 lives in the hearts and minds of many Irish cricket fans, being the day a fully-amateur side humbled the West Indies bowling the visitors out for 25.

Alec O’Riordan and Dougie Goodwin, who were in attendance at the luncheon, did the damage on that day 50 years ago, taking nine wickets between them in a devastating 25-over spell on a soft, green top. As can be seen by the scorecard, the visiting side could not handle the conditions and some spirited bowling on the day.

Goodwin finished with figures of 5-6, while O’Riordan claimed 4-18 with one run out completing the rout.

At the event, held at the Croke Park Hotel, O’Riordan acknowledged that conditions aided the home side immeasurably:

“The ground was just about playable; the outfield was very soft, it was a slow wicket and the wind also played a part.”

“We played well, but they could not cope with the lack of pace in what was totally alien conditions for them.”

The players were quick to rebuff the theory that has been floated that the West Indian team had been suffering from hangovers on the day of the match, noting that the visitors had just arrived straight from England the previous evening fresh from a Test match, and the two sides did not have a chance to meet each other until they arrived at the ground that morning.

Paul Lennon, ASJI President, said:

“For a long time I have thought that this team deserved to have their achievement celebrated by the ASJI and I am delighted that, during my first year as President, they have joined the long list of legends we have chosen to honour.”

WATCH AN INTERVIEW WITH CLIVE LLOYD

 

More photos from the ASJI event

ASJI
Image: Mike Reith, Dougie Goodwin, Warren Deutrom, Paul Lennon, Alec O’Riordan and Ivan Anderson


ASji
Image: Ger Siggins interviewed the players


asji
Image: The players receive a special token from the ASJI, joined by David Pigot representing his late father David


Photos courtesy: Lorraine O’Sullivan/ASJI


Ireland’s Amy Kenealy retires from international cricket

November 4th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International, Women

Ireland’s Amy Kenealy retires from international cricket

Amy Kenealy appeared 72 times for Ireland

DUBLIN – Ireland Women’s Amy Kenealy has today announced her retirement from international cricket after an 11-year career with the senior side.

31-year old Kenealy made her debut against West Indies Women in 2008 at her club cricket home ground in Rathmines. Since then she has played 72 times for the national team, claiming 45 wickets at an average of 32.84. She achieved her career-best bowling figures of 4-32 against Bangladesh in 2016.

A pace bowler who often took the new ball for her country, Kenealy finishes her career as Ireland Women’s 12th highest all-time wicket-taker.

She said:

“It is with all sorts of mixed emotions I am stepping away from the Ireland Women’s international team, but this is the correct decision for me right now.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank my teammates, coaches and Cricket Ireland staff for every opportunity that they have given me in this amazing part of my life - from the gruelling fitness sessions on Clontarf seafront back in 2006 to the amazing Sport Ireland Institute, to playing in men’s Division 12, to opening the bowling in a World Cup in India and everything in between.”

“I can still remember that first phone call from Claire O’Leary in my leaving cert year to invite me to train with the squad – since that time I’ve given it my all, and have made so many friends and memories over this time.”

“Although it is sad to step away, I’ll keep up with the progress of the team and be there to support the girls throughout.”

Amy
Image: Amy Kenealy bowling against New Zealand, 2018

Miriam Grealey, Ireland Women’s selector and former long-term coach of Kenealy, said:

“As an 18-year old Amy was one of the best young bowlers in the country, so I had no hesitation in selecting her. Throughout her career, Amy was a great addition to the squad with an excellent work ethic and attitude.”


Richard Holdsworth, Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, said:

“To play 72 times for her country is a testament to Amy’s skills and abilities as a cricketer, and while we support her in her decision and wish her well, we hope that she maintains a close relationship with cricket and can be a supportive presence as we grow our sport across Ireland.”

“Too often in the sporting world we see athletes come through the system, then we struggle to retain them in the system after they call time on their competitive days. I hope Amy, and players like her, can be part of the future of the game. We know there is a growing interest in girls and women’s cricket across Ireland, and we hope to be able to utilise the talent within the game to inspire the next generation.”


Ireland’s bowlers lead their side to victory and third place at World Cup Qualifier

November 2nd 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Ireland’s bowlers lead their side to victory and third place at World Cup Qualifier

Gareth Delany claimed 2-23 today

DUBAI, UAE – The Ireland Men’s cricket team overcame a spirited Namibia and claimed victory in the 3rd Place Play Off at the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier tournament today.

Ireland captain Gary Wilson won the toss and chose to bat first on a hard wicket that looked good for batting. Two changes were made from the loss yesterday to the Netherlands, with Shane Getkate and Simi Singh coming into the side in place of Stuart Thompson and George Dockrell.

Paul Stirling (25) and Kevin O’Brien (17) started sprightly, but both fell to catches in the outfield when beginning to look dangerous. During his innings, O’Brien registered his 1,500th career run in T20 Internationals. Stirling and O’Brien also finish their year in first and second spot for most runs in T20Is in a calendar year for any country.


Andy Balbirnie looked in control of his innings and appeared comfortable picking off runs with the odd boundary, but off the last ball of the 15th over he top-edged a pull shot and was caught at backward square leg for 46 from 35 balls.

Mark Adair (17), with two consecutive sixes down the ground, gave Ireland’s total a late boost, but wickets tumbled and Ireland were bowled out in the last over for 135.


Adair
Image: Mark Adair hit consecutive sixes late on


Needing a good start to defend a total 20-25 runs below par, Gareth Delany (2-23) struck in the second over, quickly followed by Simi Singh (3-25) in his first appearance at the Qualifier tournament. Singh’s dismissal will undoubtedly be on a shortlist of catches of the tournament, grabbing a reflex, diving caught and bowled opportunity to have Namibia at 11-2 in the fourth over.

Delany struck again with, perhaps, a fortunate LBW decision before Stephen Baard (17) and captain Gerhard Erasmus (51) stabilised the innings with a promising 22-run stand. However, having done the hard work Baard pulled Shane Getkate high into and Singh once again claimed an eye-catching catch, this time in the outfield.

Namibian captain Erasmus tried to wrestle control of the match away from the Irish bowlers with a powerful half-century, but after passing the milestone he was caught scooping a ball to Boyd Rankin at short fine leg.

With the Namibian captain’s dismissal the African team’s resistance failed and Ireland’s bowlers turned the screws with tight bowling and regular wickets. Namibia were eventually bowled out for 108 in the 19th over, handing Ireland a 27-run win.

The win today was underpinned by a fantastic bowling performance, led by Singh (3-25) and supported by Adair (2-9), Rankin (2-17) and Delany (2-23).


Simi Singh
Image: Simi Singh claimed three wickets


Ireland finishes in 3rd Place at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup tournament, having earlier earned qualification for the T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November 2020.

After the match, Player of the Match Simi Singh said:

“First of all I’m delighted with the win today, and the team’s performance with the ball. It was great to get a game and show people what I can do.”

“It was definitely a day for pace of the ball, I looked at the wicket and saw how our batters struggled a little with the pace off the ball, so that was the plan for me.”

“It’s great now to finish with a win and go home with a smile on our face – and maybe a few beers.”


Ireland captain Gary Wilson said:

“As I said before the toss it wasn’t the game we wanted to be playing but it’s nice to sign off with a good performance and a win.”

“I thought we were about par on that wicket, maybe just a little below – we found the wickets tough out here and the way Gerhard [Erasmus] played out there, that’s probably as good as I’ve seen anyone play out there in the middle overs. We were always confident that we had about enough if we bowled well, and it worked out that way.”

“We’ve had some new faces and some big changes, and that’s what often happens when you make such big changes – you’re going to be up one day and maybe down the next and I think it’s probably reflective of where we are as a team at the minute. We probably didn’t deserve to be in the final, but I do think that when we play our best cricket we’re a match for anyone.”


Ireland
Image: The Ireland squad

SUMMARY SCORECARD

Ireland Men v Namibia Men, T20 World Cup Qualifier, Dubai, 2 November 2019

  Ireland 135 (20 overs; A Balbirnie 46; C Williams 3-34)
  Namibia 108 (18.1 overs; G Erasmus 51; S Singh 3-25, M Adair 2-9, B Rankin 2-17, G Delany 2-23)

Ireland won by 27 runs

See full scorecard here.

Match highlights

 

 


Dutch defeat leaves Ireland in 3rd Place Play Off at World Cup Qualifier

November 1st 2019 by Andrew Blair White | International

Dutch defeat leaves Ireland in 3rd Place Play Off at World Cup Qualifier

Ben Cooper batting the Netherlands out of early trouble

DUBAI, UAE – The Ireland Men’s cricket team has been beaten by a slick Netherlands side and will now play in the 3rd Place Play Off at the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier tournament.

Ireland captain Gary Wilson won the toss and chose to bowl first - and would have been delighted with the start that the Irish bowlers came up with. Mark Adair (0-31) and Boyd Rankin (1-17) bowled probing opening overs, not letting the Dutch batters get any momentum through the powerplay. Craig Young (2-39) was then brought into the attack in the fourth over and immediately struck, with Harry Tector hanging on to a tough chance at point to dismiss Max O’Dowd (14). Young quickly followed up to bowl Colin Ackermann, which left the Netherlands 32-2 at the end of six overs.

Netherlands captain Pietaar Seelaar (21) and Ben Cooper (37) stabilised the innings, scoring a steady 44-run stand in just under six overs - but Rankin then removed Seelaar and Gareth Delany (1-26) deceived Ben Cooper leaving the Netherlands on 102-4 with five overs left.

Those wickets, however, brought the experienced Ryan ten Doeschate and Roelof van der Merwe together – the pair piling on the runs with a 56-run unbroken partnership from the last 30 balls. The Dutch side finished on 158-4, which most experts considered 15-20 runs above par score.


Kevin O'Brien
Image: Kevin O’Brien fired early

Ireland needed a good start to their response and they got it from Paul Stirling (29) and Kevin O’Brien (22). The pair let loose in the opening overs, making yet another half-century stand – this one in just over six overs. However, the shift in the momentum of the game once again came from van der Merwe who, bowling in tandem with Seelaar, brought the Netherlands right back into the game by removing O’Brien and Stirling in quick succession.

Gareth Delany and Andy Balbirnie tried to consolidate with a 27-run stand, but with the loss of Delany with the score on 84, Ireland’s middle-order collapsed. In all, seven wickets fell for 24 runs and Ireland found themselves out of contention to make the final.

George Dockrell (25*) and Boyd Rankin (8*) put some respectability into the final total, but after 20 overs the Netherlands were victors by 21 runs.

Ireland will finish their tournament commitments in a 3rd Place Play Off at 10.10am tomorrow morning against the loser of this afternoon’s Papua New Guinea v Namibia encounter.

After the match, Ireland captain Gary Wilson said:

“Having won the toss, we were disappointed for them to score 160. They have a lot of experience in their middle order with Ryan ten Doeschate, Colin Ackermann and Roelof van der Merwe. We have a lot of talent in our squad but we perhaps don’t quite have the same level of experience as that and I thought they were excellent in the middle overs. Looking back on it now, they may have got 20 too many - 140 would have been a good chase.”

“T20 is a game of excitement and we don’t want to restrict players to knocking the ball down the ground. We’ve got some really exciting players at the top of the order and we don’t want to hamstring them. Having said that, you’re hoping one of the top order goes on to make a big score.”

“Playing in the heat has been very tough, we’ve been out here for five weeks now so we’ve got a bit more used to it but it is still hard enough.”

SUMMARY SCORECARD

Ireland Men v Netherlands Men, T20 World Cup Qualifier, Dubai, 1 November 2019

  Netherlands 158-4 (20 overs; R ten Doeschate 43*;  C Young 2-39)
  Ireland 137-9 (20 overs; P Stirling 29; P Seelaar 3-17)

Netherlands won by 21 runs

See full scorecard here.
View Full Match highlights

 

 


Ireland’s links Down Under developing the next generation of cricketers

October 31st 2019 by Craig Easdown | International, Youth

Ireland’s links Down Under developing the next generation of cricketers

Stephen Doheny is the last scholarship recipient

SYDNEY, Australia – 18 years ago Cricket Ireland’s Academy and Performance Manager Pete Johnston travelled out to Australia – as an aspiring cricketer at the time, he became the first of a generation of Irish players to link up with the Sydney-based Randwick Petersham Cricket Club. This year Rush’s Stephen Doheny became the latest up-and-coming Irish cricketer to turn out for “Randy Petes”.

The list of Irish cricketers to spend time with the club features some notable names, including Andy Balbirnie, Barry McCarthy and Harry Tector from the current World Cup Qualifier squad, as well as the likes of Peter Chase, Graeme McCarter, Gary Kidd and current Ireland Wolves captain Jack Tector.

Randwick Petersham is today an Official Overseas Scholarship Programme Partner of Cricket Ireland, and Stephen Doheny is the latest player to go on the scholarship programme during the northern hemisphere winter.

Johnston said:

“Stephen [Doheny] is the latest player undertaking a scholarship with Randwick Petersham, while taking part in the International Cricket Program Sydney. He has been part of the Shapoorji Pallonji Cricket Ireland Academy for the past four years, and has progressed through the Emerging Academy into the Senior Academy. He’s represented Ireland Under-19’s, Leinster Lightning, Munster Reds and Ireland Wolves along the way.”

“It’s become a very successful partnership over the last number of years, our players have had the chance to train and play with the likes of David Warner and Usman Khawaja, and last year Harry Tector was even named in Randwick Petersham’s best XI for the season.”

Doheny has batted four times to date for Randwick Petersham, scoring 126 runs at an average of 63.00, with a highest score of 64.

 

Doheny
Image: Stephen Doheny (non-striker) playing for Randy Petes, Morne Morkel bowling


Speaking from the training ground at Coogee in Sydney, Doheny said:

“I have really enjoyed my time in Sydney so far. It is an amazing city with so much to offer. I am living in Randwick, which is an ideal location, as I am walking distance to Coogee Oval and with the bus stop right outside the front door I can get to wherever I need to go.”

“The weather has been fantastic so far, I have spent many hours on the beach, and it isn’t even summer yet. There are Irish people everywhere around Coogee and Bondi, so it has been easy to make myself feel at home.”

“Even though I am only here a little over five weeks I have made many memories and have plenty of highlights, most notably making my first-grade debut against Mosman in the Kingsgrove T20 competition two weeks ago. I was fortunate to play my second game this Sunday versus an all-star Manly side including players like Chris Green and Morne Morkel. The opportunity to play against these players who play all around the world was invaluable. It was a fantastic day and was made even better by getting the win.”

Doheny’s placement is much more than just playing for the club, as he explains:

“My weekdays are packed with skills and fitness training on top of the club training sessions at nearby Snape Park which is a great opportunity to train with the first-grade players. I am participating in the International Cricket Program run by Howard Grice, and I feel it has already benefitted my game. The 10-week program has given me the opportunity to surround myself with county professionals and train with highly experienced coaches and players.”

“The opportunity to train during the week on top of club training on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon is brilliant. Gricey and the other coaches have been great to me so far and have helped me highlight areas of my game that I must improve on to get to where I want to go.”

“Saturday is gameday, which brings tough competitive cricket, but I have enjoyed the busy schedule and the chance to improve my game as much as I can.”

“The club have been beyond great to me so far, all the people have been so welcoming and hospitable. There are some legends of the game at Randwick Petersham and it is great to hear all the stories of the Irish blokes that have been here before me. I am so grateful to John Stewart for putting me up, and to everyone at the club and Cricket Ireland for making this happen. I’ve had a fantastic time so far and am thoroughly looking forward to the summer and the chance to improve my game and win some silverware with the Randy Petes.”

John Stewart, Randwick Petersham CEO, said:

“The Randwick Petersham and Cricket Ireland partnership is a unique partnership which sets us aside from other Premier Cricket Clubs in Sydney and Australia. Every Irish cricketer who has played and trained with the Randy Petes has fitted in superbly with our culture. They’ve certainly made their mark with their cricketing abilities. Their professionalism is unrivalled and they have certainly made many friends at the Randy Petes with their willingness to immerse themselves in the club on and off the field.”

“We always follow each player with interest after they leave us, and its always a proud moment for the Randy Petes to see our representative players doing well.”

You can follow Stephen’s stats throughout the season with Randwick Petersham here.

 


Ireland to face Netherlands in World Cup Qualifier semi-final, Mark Adair interview

October 30th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Ireland to face Netherlands in World Cup Qualifier semi-final, Mark Adair interview

Mark Adair has claimed 10 wickets at an average of 11 during the Qualifier tournament

DUBAI, UAE – Having automatically qualified for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup by topping Group B in the Qualifier tournament, the Ireland Men’s cricket team’s next match is the semi-final of the competition – with the side not satisfied with qualification alone, but determined to win the overall title.

Six sides from the T20 World Cup Qualifier tournament progress to the World Cup in Australia next year, with automatic qualification being handed to the two teams who topped their respective Groups. After a dramatic climax to Group B fixtures, Ireland held top spot on Net Run Rate and thereby progress to the World Cup tournament – however, that does not end their competitive involvement in the Qualifier event. A semi-final (and a potentially a tournament final) is still ahead for the men in green, and they are not satisfied to just sit back having achieved qualification.

Ireland captain Gary Wilson said:

“We did our job in the last two games, put the pressure back on Oman to get a result and, fortunately, Jersey did us a favour. It’s great that we can look forward to another World Cup but nothing has changed. I said at the start of the tournament the objective was not just to qualify but to win it and we will do that if we play our best cricket on Friday and Saturday.”


The Big Dance


The side has relocated from its previous base in Abu Dhabi and have moved to Dubai where ahead of their semi-final clash on Friday against the Netherlands at the Dubai International Stadium. The match will begin at 2.10pm (local time) or 10.10am (Irish time).

One of the stars of the tournament for Ireland has been 23-year old Mark Adair. Having only made his international debut in May 2019, Adair has had an impressive start to his senior career – an eye-catching debut performance against England in an ODI, six wickets on his Test debut at Lord’s and now leading the line at the World Cup Qualifier taking 10 wickets at an average of 11.

Speaking from the team hotel, Adair was talking about that nervous 24-hour period awaiting results that would eventually see Ireland seal top spot and qualify:

“Yeah, it was closer than what we wanted, but Jersey did us a nice favour there and we managed to top the group. To be honest, it wasn’t a great 24 hours, you’d rather win all your games and qualify conventionally - to control your own destiny, but it’s not the way we did it this time around. It was a pretty strange feeling to be watching and supporting another team because you know they have such an effect on your standing. But, thank you Jersey.”

Asked about his own performances, he said:

“My bowling has been good, the ball has been coming out pretty well and it was a pretty simple game plan we had which helped us out there. I was disappointed with my batting performances but we have another two games left to maybe try and get that right.”

Asked about the feeling in the squad, he said:

“There’s a lot of lads in the squad with this being their first trip, and they’ve been playing with no fear of failure, so that has brought a lot of positivity to the group.”


Adair

 

UPCOMING FIXTURE

• 1 November 2019: Ireland v Netherlands (semi-final)
  Dubai International Stadium
  2.10pm start (local time) or 10.10am (Irish time)
  Broadcast available on Sky Sports Cricket

SQUAD

The squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is:

Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), David Delany (Northern Knights)*, Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).


  * Delany has been replaced by Barry McCarthy after suffering a knee injury

 


HEAR: Interviews with Gary Wilson and Craig Young post-qualification confirmation

October 29th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

HEAR: Interviews with Gary Wilson and Craig Young post-qualification confirmation

ABU DHABI, UAE - Ireland skipper Gary Wilson and bowler Craig Young talking after automatic qualification was confirmed.

Interviews

Hear from skipper Gary Wilson after qualification was confirmed:

 

Hear from bowler Craig Young after qualification was confirmed:


We’re heading to the Men’s T20 World Cup!

October 29th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

We’re heading to the Men’s T20 World Cup!

Ireland is heading to the T20 World Cup in 2020

ABU DHABI, UAE - Following the United Arab Emirates v Canada game on Sunday evening, it was confirmed that Ireland has automatically qualified for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia, to be held from 18 October to 15 November 2020.

Group B had involved a hard-fought series of matches, with all sides knowing that only the top side at the end of the Group Stage would automatically qualify for the World Cup.

Ireland convincingly won its final two matches against Jersey and Nigeria to take them top of Group B, however, required two results elsewhere to go their way the next day - Jersey needed to beat the much-fancied Oman, and then the UAE nor Canada result could finish with a resounding victory for either side at the risk of both sides still being able to, albeit miraculously, pass Ireland on Net Run Rate.

Fortunately for Ireland, the Jersey side pulled off a remarkable victory over Oman, and then the following match saw a win to UAE but not sufficient to scale that the Emirates side could catch the Irish Net Run Rate.

Ireland were through, topping Group B!

 


Barry McCarthy to replace injured David Delany at World Cup Qualifier

October 27th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International, Other

Barry McCarthy to replace injured David Delany at World Cup Qualifier

David Delany has been withdrawn with a knee injury

ABU DHABI, UAE – Pace bowler Barry McCarthy flies out today to join the Ireland Men’s cricket team at the T20 World Cup Qualifier tournament after David Delany has been ruled out of the remainder of the tournament due to a knee injury.

21-year old Delany, who made his T20 International debut last month at Malahide, is Ireland’s quickest bowler who was clocked at more than 90 miles per hour (145 kmh) earlier in the week. He had missed the recent Pentangular T20I Series in Oman at the beginning of October due to study commitments, but joined up with the squad on its arrival in Abu Dhabi ahead of the Qualifier tournament.

He had claimed 6 wickets in his five appearances to date in the tournament at an average of 22.33, but he will be missed as much as for the potency of his raw pace, as much as the wickets he took.

Flying in to replace Delany will be Leinster Lightning’s Barry McCarthy. The former Durham player has taken 10 wickets at an average of 25.90 in T20Is, having appeared six times for Ireland in this format, the last occasion against Scotland in June 2018.

Mark Rausa, Head of Physiotherapy and Medical Services for Cricket Ireland, said:

“David dived in the field during our game with Jersey and it was clear that he had sustained an injury to his knee. Although he tried to continue on with his overs, he had to stop halfway through his third and came off the field for assessment.”

“He was sent for an MRI scan immediately, which was reported on by ICC recommended radiologists in Abu Dhabi and by our team of radiologists in Dublin, both confirming that he has sustained a meniscal tear in his left knee. He will travel home tomorrow and will see an orthopaedic consultant for an opinion on his ongoing management and rehab.”



Ireland brushes aside Nigeria to go top of Group B at World Cup Qualifier

October 26th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Ireland brushes aside Nigeria to go top of Group B at World Cup Qualifier

Craig Young claimed a career-best 4-13

ABU DHABI, UAE – The Ireland Men’s cricket team has thumped Nigeria by 8 wickets in their final Group Stage match of the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier tournament in Abu Dhabi today, moving to the top spot in Group B and will nervously await tomorrow’s match between Jersey and Oman tomorrow to see who qualifies automatically for the World Cup.

With the loss of David Delany due to a torn meniscus knee injury, Stuart Thompson returned to the side for this first-ever international cricket match between the two sides.

After losing the toss and being asked to bowl first it didn’t take long for the men in green to assert their dominance. Leg-spinner Gareth Delany struck first, cleaning up opener Daniel Ajeku who tried to go back and cut a ball too close to his stumps and was beaten in flight.

Two further wickets fell soon after, and the Nigerians found themselves struggling at 13-3 after 5 overs. From that point the African side never recovered, with the Irish bowlers bowling a consistent line and length on a sluggish looking pitch. Nigeria finished on 66-9 from their 20 overs – equal to the lowest completed T20I total by a side not being bowled out.

For Ireland, Craig Young claimed career-best figures of 4-13 from his four overs, and Mark Adair went top of the tournament wicket-taking chart with 2-10 from his four overs. Demonstrating their tight bowling, five wickets to fall were bowled, with Head Coach Graham Ford pleased that his side didn’t let the pressure off throughout the full 20 overs.

 

With the state of the Group B table, at the halfway stage Ireland’s batters knew they had to knock off the target in 9 overs to go top of the Group. And they achieved their target off just 37 balls.

Paul Stirling (11) fell early, and Kevin O’Brien (32) lost his wicket late on, but Gareth Delany (11 off 8 balls) and Mark Adair (10 off 4 balls) saw their side home at a rapid rate.

As a notable aside, Paul Stirling (694 runs) and Kevin O’Brien (690 runs) now sit in first and second place in the records for most runs in a calendar year in T20I cricket worldwide.

The circumstances of the match means that Ireland leaps into first place in the Group B table requiring Jersey to upset Oman tomorrow in order to claim automatic qualification for the World Cup. If Oman win tomorrow, Ireland will go into a play-off against the third-placed side from Group A – which is currently Scotland.


After the match, Gary Wilson said:

“We’re top at the moment and will keep a close on eye on the game tomorrow. All we could do is do our job as best we could today and it was a clinical performance. Credit must go to Nigeria – it’s great to see teams like Nigeria here competing at this level, it can only be a positive thing for the globalisation of cricket around the world.”

“We want to be playing our best cricket towards the end of the tournament, and we probably haven’t been at our best yet, but some positive performances over the last couple of days and we’ll look to take that into the next match.”

“David Delany has a bit of an issue with his knee, we’re not quite sure how bad yet, but we’ll monitor that pretty closely over the next 24 hours.”

After the match, Player of the Match Craig Young said about his career-best figures of 4-13:

“It’s important when someone comes into the team they make the most of it – it’s not always easy, but something you have to do.”

“It’s nice to put in a meaningful performance, it’s credit to how strong the team is now – we have plenty of bowling options and that’s a great thing going forward.”

SUMMARY SCORECARD

Ireland Men v Nigeria Men, T20 World Cup Qualifier, Abu Dhabi, 26 October 2019

  Nigeria 66-9 (20 overs; S Adedeji 19;  C Young 4-13, M Adair 2-10)
  Ireland 67-2 (6.1 overs; K O’Brien 32)

Ireland won by 8 wickets

See full scorecard here.

FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

SQUAD

The squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is:

Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), David Delany (Northern Knights), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

 

 


Ireland demolish Jersey to hold on to slim hopes of automatic qualification to World Cup

October 25th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Ireland demolish Jersey to hold on to slim hopes of automatic qualification to World Cup

Mark Adair claimed 3-10 from his 4 overs today

ABU DHABI, UAE – The Ireland Men’s cricket team has bounced back to form with a convincing win over Jersey in their penultimate Group Stage match of the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier tournament in Abu Dhabi today.

Smarting after the loss to Canada on Wednesday, Head Coach Graham Ford was looking for an improved bowling effort in today’s match after making one change to the line-up with Craig Young coming in for Stuart Thompson.

After winning the toss and choosing to bowl first it took just four balls to show the Irish side was back in business. Mark Adair, who has bowled impressively throughout the tournament, struck in the first over removing Jersey opener Harrison Carlyon without scoring.

The express pace of David Delany accounted for the next wicket, ripping through Nick Greenwood’s defence and upsetting the stumps, and this signalled a collapse from the Jersey batters. In all they lost 9-69 in 15 overs to be all out off the last ball for 105.

After having an off day with the ball on Wednesday, the Ireland bowlers were on song today, led by Player of the Match Adair (3-10 from 4 overs), two wickets to David Delany, and one wicket apiece to Boyd Rankin, Gareth Delany, Craig Young and George Dockrell. Rankin’s wicket, a sensational reflex caught and bowled, was his 50th wicket in T20I cricket in this his 45th T20I appearance.

The main concern for Ireland though is the injury to paceman David Delany who left the field limping after not being able to complete his 3rd over.


Chasing 106 for victory, the Ireland batters were in no mood to let Jersey in with a sniff. Paul Stirling struck 58* from 37 balls to lead the response (including 5 fours and 2 sixes), while Andy Balbirnie was getting back to his best form making 33 from 27 balls.

While today Kevin O’Brien only made 11, he did pass 2,000 T20 runs for Ireland in the process with only Stirling and William Porterfield ahead of him on the all-time Irish records.

To ensure domination of the match and give Ireland a big boost in the Net Run Rate column, Stirling finished the run chase off by lifting Jersey’s Dominic Blampied for consecutive sixes.

The win leaves Ireland in third place (on Net Run Rate) in the Group B table with one game to play. The slim hopes of automatic qualification for the World Cup will now take a convincing win against Nigeria and results going favourably elsewhere. If not topping the Group and achieving automatic qualification, Ireland will enter the sudden death knock-out phase early next week.

After the match, Gary Wilson said:

“It was obviously very important to bounce back strong, if we didn’t we may have been out of the competition. So it was pleasing to get a win today and hopefully we can take the momentum into tomorrow and move on from there.”

“Crucial tomorrow will be run rate, which will be important, but first we have to win the game. Nigeria is a bit of an unknown quantity for us, so we’ll have a look at the footage from the previous games and look to attack them the best way possible. We’ve played some good cricket today, so hopefully, we can continue that into tomorrow.”

SUMMARY SCORECARD

Ireland Men v Jersey Men, T20 World Cup Qualifier, Abu Dhabi, 25 October 2019

  Jersey 105 (20 overs; B Stevens 25;  M Adair 3-10, D Delany 2-12)
  Ireland 110-2 (14 overs; P Stirling 58*, A Balbirnie 33)

Ireland won by 8 wickets

See full scorecard here.

Table

table

UPCOMING FIXTURES


Ireland’s Qualifier fixtures – group stage

• 26 October: Ireland v Nigeria
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time
  Broadcast on Sky Sports Cricket

SQUAD

The squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is:

Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), David Delany (Northern Knights), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

 

 


Ireland upset by Canada in latest World Cup Qualifier match

October 23rd 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Ireland upset by Canada in latest World Cup Qualifier match

Canada has gone to the top of the Group with three wins from three

ABU DHABI, UAE – The Ireland Men’s cricket team has been defeated by Canada in their fourth Group Stage match of the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier tournament in Abu Dhabi today, with automatic qualification for the World Cup now relying on winning the final Group matches and hoping for favourable results elsewhere.

With Andy Balbirnie returning to the side after missing the last game through illness, Ireland lost the toss and were asked to bowl first.

Canada started well, until speedster David Delany (1-31) knocked back opener Rizwan Cheema’s stumps with his first ball. Delany, despite the sapping heat, was clocked at more than 90 miles per hour during his spell today, and made the opposition batters uncomfortable at times with his raw pace.

Navneet Dhaliwal (69 from 51 balls), the Canadian captain, then took charge – hitting out with a combination of power shots and well-placed glides. He brought up his third career half-century from 37 balls, sharing an impressive 111-run stand with Nitish Kumar (53). While giving his team a great launch pad for the final overs - with the score on 124-2 with 5 overs to go, his dismissal gave Irish bowlers a sniff of a way back into the game. And the men in green capitalised.

The last five overs saw four wickets fall for just 32 runs, with Canada ending on 156-5 from their 20 overs.

 


For Ireland, Boyd Rankin bowled well claiming 2-31, but the best bowling performance of the day was Mark Adair, who went wicketless but bowled a miserly 0-21 from four overs. Using clever variation and a tight line, Adair bowled at the top and tail of the innings and ensured the Canadian batters never got away.

In response, Ireland started poorly by losing Kevin O’Brien early for four, but looked to rectify the innings through a rapid 38-run stand between Paul Stirling and Gareth Delany (16).

The dismissal of Delany, run out after great fielding by Nitish Kumar at backward point, was quickly followed by the big loss of Balbirnie for a first-ball duck. Ireland needed talisman Paul Stirling to stay in and build around, but soon after he tickled a ball through to the keeper and was out for 23.

A seemingly stabilising partnership of 29 between Harry Tector (22) and Gary Wilson (16) sought to get the Irish run chase back on track, however, the Canadian bowlers continued to plug away and wickets further came. Tector and Wilson fell within two runs of each other, and the brakes were applied to the Irish run rate. Mark Adair (12), Stuart Thompson (28*) and George Dockrell (13*) found late runs, but the target proved too difficult and Ireland fell 10 runs short.


Thommo
Image: Stuart Thompson top-scored with 28* from 25 balls

 

The win leaves Ireland in fourth place in the Group B table with two games to play. Automatic qualification for the World Cup will now take two convincing wins and results going favourably elsewhere.

After the match, captain Gary Wilson said:

“They got a few more than we would have liked with the bat, but credit to the two boys who put on the runs, I thought they played well. At half-time they were probably 10 runs or so more than we would have liked, but we still felt we could chase them down. But as we saw, it can be difficult to chase when teams put the squeeze on.”

“We thought we wanted to target the powerplay and put Gareth Delany up to three. But the run out, followed by Andrew Balbirnie going first ball put the brakes on us a little bit. We recovered ok, but when Harry [Tector] got out, we never really recovered from that.”

“I thought Mark Adair was outstanding with the ball, helping to drag it back – as he has been all tournament, but we’ve unfortunately now got to go the hard way and rely on results elsewhere. They’re all must-win games for us now.”

“We just need to get a bit better in every department. We weren’t able to chase down 150-odd today, on any ground on any wicket we should be able to do that, but we just need to look at every department and get 10% better.”

SUMMARY SCORECARD

Ireland Men v Canada Men, T20 World Cup Qualifier, Abu Dhabi, 23 October 2019

  Canada 156-5 (20 overs; N Dhaliwal 69, N Kumar 53;  B Rankin 2-31)
  Ireland 146-7 (20 overs; S Thompson 28*; S Zafar 2-31)

Canada won by 10 runs

See full scorecard here.

Match highlights

 

Table

table

UPCOMING FIXTURES


Ireland’s Qualifier fixtures – group stage

• 25 October: Ireland v Jersey
ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time
• 26 October: Ireland v Nigeria
Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time
Broadcast on Sky Sports Cricket

SQUAD

The squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is:

Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), David Delany (Northern Knights), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

 


Delany’s all-round smash-and-grab sees Ireland overpower Oman at World Cup Qualifier

October 21st 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Delany’s all-round smash-and-grab sees Ireland overpower Oman at World Cup Qualifier

Gareth Delany hit 89* and claimed 2-29 today

ABU DHABI, UAE – The Ireland Men’s cricket team has comprehensively defeated Oman, after Gareth Delany starred with bat and ball in Abu Dhabi today.

Under warm conditions, Ireland lost the toss and was sent in to bat – a decision that the Omani’s would rue. The Irish team had arrived at the ground bearing bad news, that in-form batter Andy Balbirnie had succumbed to an illness and ruled out of the game, but that would not hamper the men in green.

Ireland’s top order batters were in a positive mood, looking to make amends for the last match loss to UAE on Saturday. Paul Stirling (11) and Kevin O’Brien (41) started out by putting on 34 for the first wicket from just over four overs. During the partnership O’Brien hit a massive six over mid-wicket early, which broke a world-record for the most sixes hit by a batsman in T20 International cricket in a calendar year (35 to date), and despite losing Paul Stirling soon after for 11, Ireland’s run rate did not abate.

22-year old Gareth Delany, in only his 12th T20 International since making his debut in July, smashed 89* from 49 balls, including 9 fours and 3 sixes. His innings was Ireland’s third highest individual score in T20 internationals, with the five highest individual T20 international scores now all coming in 2019.


Delany
Image: Delany hit Ireland’s third highest T20I score

Losing his partner O’Brien with the score on 76 in the 10th over, Delany was joined by 19-year old Harry Tector and the run rate accelerated further. Tector hit two sixes and a boundary in his innings of 28, with he and Delany sharing a quickfire 43-run stand.

Tector dismissal saw Mark Adair come to the crease, but the usually big-hitting Adair took on the support role and let Delany continue to pummel the Omani attack. The pair put on 64 runs in the last five overs, with Adair contributing 11 of those. Delany was in the zone - at one stage took 33 runs from 11 balls.

Ireland finished its 20 overs with 183-3, setting the Oman side a challenging target on a slowly wearing pitch.

 

 

In response, Oman were never really in the running. Despite some big hitting by opener Khawar Ali (50 from 34 balls), the Omani batters couldn’t keep pace with a steadily increasing run rate required. The Irish bowlers took wickets at regular intervals, not letting their opponents build a threatening partnership. Gareth Delany completed his ‘on-song’ day by claiming 2-29 from four overs, including the wicket of Ali.

Mark Adair again bowled well taking 2-24, and George Dockrell chimed in with 2-24. While only claiming a single scalp, the pace and bounce of Boyd Rankin was difficult for Oman to handle, and he ended with 1-20 from his four overs.

Oman finished on 148-9, with Ireland winning by 35 runs. Gareth Delany was named a very worthy Player of the Match.

Match Highlights

Press Conference

SUMMARY SCORECARD

Ireland Men v Oman Men, T20 World Cup Qualifier, Abu Dhabi, 21 October 2019

  Ireland 183-3 (20 overs; G Delany 89*, K O’Brien 41; K Ali 1-28)
  Oman 148-9 (20 overs; K Ali 50; G Dockrell 2-24, M Adair 2-26, G Delany 2-29)

Ireland won by 35 runs

See full scorecard here.

Table

wt20q

UPCOMING FIXTURES


Ireland’s Qualifier fixtures – group stage

• 23 October: Ireland v Canada
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
Broadcast on Sky Sports Cricket
• 25 October: Ireland v Jersey
ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time
• 26 October: Ireland v Nigeria
Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time
Broadcast on Sky Sports Cricket

SQUAD

The squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is:

Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), David Delany (Northern Knights), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

 

 


Ireland beaten by hosts despite Stirling’s sterling innings at World Cup Qualifier

October 19th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Ireland beaten by hosts despite Stirling’s sterling innings at World Cup Qualifier

Paul Stirling registered his 15th career T20I half-century

ABU DHABI, UAE – The Ireland Men’s cricket team has been beaten by tournament hosts United Arab Emirates in today’s Group Stage match at the T20 World Cup Qualifier in Abu Dhabi today.

After losing the toss and being sent in, openers Paul Stirling and Kevin O’Brien looked to hit out early on what was a harder batting wicket than yesterday. After hitting two boundaries, O’Brien (14) fell to a diving catch at mid-wicket by Ashfaq Ahmed, bringing the in-form Andy Balbirnie to the crease.

Stirling and Balbirnie looked to back up their 86-run stand yesterday with another performance here, however, on this occasion they could only muster 29 between them. Balbirnie was again looking confident until he fell to a neat catch for 11. Two further wickets fell as the batting became difficult in no small part thanks to tight spin bowling deployed by the home side, and suddenly Ireland was precariously poised at 68-4.

Stirling needed a partner to stay with him, and Mark Adair seemed the man. The pair put on a patient 52-run stand, which was more a partnership of turning the strike over than striking boundaries.

Stirling brought up his 15th career half-century off 47 balls, and was looking to bat the innings out. However, after getting to 72 from 58 balls, Stirling was called through by Adair for a tight second run and was caught just short. Stirling is now ranked fifth in the world for batters who have scored the most half-centuries in T20I cricket, and he has scored seven half-centuries this year alone from just 14 innings.

 


Stirling’s dismissal was the beginning of an end-of-innings collapse that saw an incredible 6 wickets fall in the last 9 balls, with Ireland finishing all out for 125.

For the UAE, Rohan Mustafa bowled an excellent 4-18 from his four overs, the former UAE captain’s best bowling figures in T20Is.

In response, the UAE made run-scoring look easy, blasting 32 runs from the first two overs. Rohan Mustafa (39 from 16 balls) was the early destroyer, until his stay was cut short, beaten for pace by David Delany and has his stumps rattled.

The run rate continued to tick over at 9 runs an over, with Ireland’s captain Gary Wilson rotating his bowlers to try make the breakthrough. Boyd Rankin slanted one across the left-handed Mohammad Usman (29) and had him caught behind, and Harry Tector created two late run outs through great fielding at point in the latter overs, but in the end the Irish total proved too low to defend and the UAE ran out winners by five wickets.

UAE
Image: Rohan Mustafa was named Player of the Match

 

After the game Ireland captain Gary Wilson said:

“We felt batting was difficult. Paul [Stirling] is one of the best ball strikers in world cricket and he was telling us it was difficult going. But obviously when Rohan [Mustafa] comes out and plays like that it kills the game. I thought we bowled relatively well after that, but as I said, I thought he killed the game by getting UAE off to a great start.”

“I thought the UAE bowled very well, they knew the conditions well, which certainly helped them, but hopefully we’ll come back strong in a couple of days against Oman. Of course, there are areas of our game that need to be better, but credit must go firstly to the UAE boys for the way they played.”

Ireland now have a day’s rest before returning to action on Monday against Oman.

SUMMARY SCORECARD

Ireland Men v UAE Men, T20 World Cup Qualifier, Abu Dhabi, 19 October 2019

  Ireland 125 (20 overs; P Stirling 72; R Mustafa 4-18)
  UAE 129-5 (17 overs; R Mustafa 39; M Adair 1-21)

UAE won by 5 wickets

See full scorecard here.

 

UPCOMING FIXTURES


Ireland’s Qualifier fixtures – group stage

• 21 October: Ireland v Oman
  ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 23 October: Ireland v Canada
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 25 October: Ireland v Jersey
  ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time
• 26 October: Ireland v Nigeria
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time

SQUAD

The squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is:

Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), David Delany (Northern Knights), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

 

 


Ireland off to convincing start with 8-wicket win at World Cup Qualifier

October 18th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Ireland off to convincing start with 8-wicket win at World Cup Qualifier

Mark Adair bowled an impressive four overs claiming 2-22

ABU DHABI, UAE – The Ireland Men’s cricket team has begun its T20 World Cup Qualifier campaign with a thumping 8-wicket win over Hong Kong in Abu Dhabi today.

After losing the toss and bowling first, Ireland went out in 34-degree heat seeking a positive bowling performance to start their tournament. 22-year old leg-spinner Gareth Delany struck first removing opener Nizakat Khan for 1.

Kinchit Shah then came to the crease and proceeded to power to his highest T20I score of 79 from 54 balls. Shah played all around the ground, combatting the Irish bowling by shuffling around the crease and hitting through the line, especially against the pace bowlers.

The Hong Kong batters turned the strike over regularly, but couldn’t find a way to hit regular boundaries – thanks in large part to an Irish attack using change-up balls, and varying their pace and length well.

Mark Adair led the line taking 2-22 from four impressive overs, and was well supported by Boyd Rankin who bowled a miserly 0-18 from 4 overs. They were backed-up by the spinners Gareth Delany (1-23 from three overs) and George Dockrell 0-21 from three overs who applied the screws in the middle overs.

Hong Kong finished on 153-5 from their 20 overs, 20-25 runs short of par for this pitch.

 

In response, Ireland started with a blast – Paul Stirling smashing a six off the first ball – but lost Kevin O’Brien in the first over, run out without facing a ball.

Andy Balbirnie joined Stirling and the pair piled on the runs. Stirling was the chief aggressor, bringing up his 14th career T20I half-century from just 26 balls, while Balbirnie played a number of classical cricket shots and ticked over at a run-a-ball in support.

The two batsmen put on an 86-run stand from 60 balls, but on 62, Stirling miscued a drive and was caught.


Tector
Image: Harry Tector plays the ball during his innings of 21*


However, the run onslaught did not abate, as Balbirnie and the incoming Harry Tector (21*) continued the run chase in style. Balbirnie passed the 50-mark as well – his fourth T20I half-century - and his 70* from 53 balls led Ireland to victory by eight wickets.

Player of the Match Paul Stirling said after the game:

“It’s nice to get a first win on the board, hopefully we can go on from here and keep winning. It was nice to get off to a quick start, you always feel like you’re in control of the innings when you get off to a quick start like that. It’s a very nice pitch, you always expect a good one at the start of a tournament when they’re fresh – especially in the afternoon when the sun comes out.”

Ireland captain Gary Wilson said:

“I don’t think we played our best cricket, to be honest. The pitch played a lot slower than we had hoped. We had to go to our cutters early, which we found to be effective. We’ve learned a lot, and we still have three more games to play in this stadium, so it’s great to win a game when we feel we haven’t played out best. A clinical chase from the boys, I thought Paul [Stirling] was excellent, and Andrew [Balbirnie] has been doing that for us for the last number of years. He’s probably not your belligerent T20 batter you’re used to seeing around the world, but his strike rate is right up there just from playing good cricket shots.”

“Boyd was outstanding, I think that should be the prototype bowling we’ll aim for. We spoke halfway through the innings that we were too full with the ball, but if you look at Boydy with the way his lengths were, I don’t think he went for a boundary in his four overs, and that should be the prototype for the lengths of our balls going forward.”

“We look to our next game against the UAE, if we play our best cricket then we’ll be OK. If we aren’t at our best, then these other teams are good enough to beat us. It’s a case of a thinking a game at a time, if you look too far ahead in these tournaments you can come unstuck.”

 

SUMMARY SCORECARD

Ireland Men v Hong Kong Men, T20 World Cup Qualifier, Abu Dhabi, 18 October 2019

  Hong Kong 153-5 (20 overs; K Shah 79; M Adair 2-22)
  Ireland 155-2 (17.2 overs; A Balbirnie 70*, P Stirling 62; A Khan 1-31)

Ireland won by 8 wickets

See full scorecard here.

 

UPCOMING FIXTURES


Ireland’s Qualifier fixtures – group stage

• 19 October: Ireland v UAE
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 7.30pm local time / 4.30pm Irish time
  Watch: Sky Sports Cricket
• 21 October: Ireland v Oman
  ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 23 October: Ireland v Canada
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 25 October: Ireland v Jersey
  ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time
• 26 October: Ireland v Nigeria
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time

SQUAD

The squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is:

Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), David Delany (Northern Knights), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

 

 


Interview: Ireland’s Harry Tector on touring life and a surprise reveal!

October 17th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Interview: Ireland’s Harry Tector on touring life and a surprise reveal!

ABU DHABI, UAE – The year 2019 has seen several new caps handed out to mark international debuts, and one of those debutants that has made a big impression in the senior international side has been Cap #706, Harry Tector.

Tector, 19, plays his club cricket with YMCA in his home town of Dublin, but his inter-provincial cricket with the Belfast-based Northern Knights. After captaining the Under-19 Ireland side to the 2018 Under-19 World Cup, Tector earned a central contract with Ireland for 2019, and subsequently made his senior international debut against Scotland exactly one month ago to the day. He struck his maiden international half-century in his second appearance and hasn’t looked back since, scoring 146 runs over six innings at an average of 36.50, and most impressively with a 156.69 strike rate.

Domestically, Tector also registered the highest first-class score in the Test Triangle Inter-Provincial Championship when he scored 146 against eventual series winners, Leinster Lightning.

Speaking from the team hotel in Abu Dhabi, Tector spoke about touring life:

“This is not actually my first senior team tour - I was out in Oman and India earlier in 2019 but didn’t play, so this is an altogether different experience. That trip, plus the Ireland Wolves and Under-19s World Cup experiences had given me a taste of what a cricket tour is like, particularly spending an extended period of time away from home, so I am certainly enjoying it so far. We’ve had a good build up to the Qualifier, so it’s now just waiting to get started.”

 

Tector
Image: Harry Tector batting against Netherlands


To the outside observer, the newer squad members have appeared to have comfortably slotted into the senior set-up, which Tector puts down to a range of factors:

“Individual personalities and general team dynamics help, but it certainly has made it easier coming into a side where there are a number of guys my age, or that I’ve played with coming up with through the ranks with. To be honest, I actually didn’t know a lot of the senior guys when I first came into the squad, but they’ve been really welcoming to me and made me feel comfortable around the change room. In fact, everything in the camp is geared around making you feel comfortable, which is much appreciated.”

Asked what the greatest challenge on tour he has faced so far, he said:

“Definitely the heat. It’s been really hot - mid-30s, even close to 40 on most days we’ve played or trained. So battling the heat has been the main challenge so far.”

So how does he spend his down time on tour?

“I play a lot of golf, for my sins. I’m not a great golfer, but there are a few of us who are keen golfers in the squad. Other than that, I’m rooming with Shane Getkate, who is one of my good mates, and we’ve been watching a fair bit of Netflix or taking the opportunity to use the hotel pool.”

And what has he learned about a team mate on this tour that has surprised him?

“Well, there is one thing about Stuart Thompson. I’m actually a bit of a romantic comedy movie fan – and I’ve discovered Stuart is as well. I certainly didn’t expect that one, but he’s been hitting me up for rom-com movie recommendations!”

The Irish squad has finished its final pre-tournament training session, and are set to take on Hong Kong is the first Group Stage match of the Qualifier tournament on Friday. The match, starting at 11.10am, will be broadcast on Sky Sports Cricket in Ireland and the UK.

FIXTURES


Ireland’s Qualifier fixtures – group stage

• 18 October: Ireland v Hong Kong
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
  Watch: Sky Sports Cricket
• 19 October: Ireland v UAE
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 7.30pm local time / 4.30pm Irish time
  Watch: Sky Sports Cricket
• 21 October: Ireland v Oman
  ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 23 October: Ireland v Canada
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 25 October: Ireland v Jersey
  ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time
• 26 October: Ireland v Nigeria
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time

SQUAD

The squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is:

Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), David Delany (Northern Knights), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

 

 


Interview: Head Coach Graham Ford assesses his side ahead of World Cup Qualifier

October 16th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International, Coaching

Interview: Head Coach Graham Ford assesses his side ahead of World Cup Qualifier

Graham Ford is focusing the squad on the task ahead

ABU DHABI, UAE – Following the completion of Ireland’s two warm-up matches ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier tournament, Head Coach Graham Ford believes the squad is in a good place, despite the excessive heat they are experiencing.

Ford is approaching his second anniversary in the Head Coach role, having taken over duties in December 2017. The experienced South African, who held previous Head Coach roles with South Africa and Sri Lanka, has seen his T20 International squad win the Tri-Series in Ireland last month, win three from four games last week in Oman, and continue to show good form in the warm-up games over the last two days.

Speaking from the team hotel, he said:

“It may sound like a cliché, but we have been on a journey as a team over the last two years. However, we are nowhere near finished. We have brought through a number of young players into the set-up, and my belief is when exposing young players to the challenges and pressures of a higher level of cricket it is vital to have some older, experienced heads around them - and the experienced guys have done an outstanding job in building up and supporting the younger lads.”

“We had a good week in Oman last week - some good training sessions and four games against decent opponents. It has given the lads a chance to adapt to the extreme heat and to play and train in conditions that we will play in come the tournament proper. Pleasingly some of the group have found good form and the wins we have had of late have been good for the squad’s confidence.”

“The last few days have seen some good performances from our lads and hopefully there will be even better performances ahead. We’ve also been boosted by the addition of David Delany to the Qualifier squad. Dave adds some pace to the attack and will be a factor in the right conditions, as you saw in the Scotland warm-up match.”

 

Video: Graham Ford after the series win at Malahide in September


Ireland has risen in the ICC T20I world rankings from 18th to 14th in the last year – positive progress that Ford believes can continue as the newer members of the squad gain more experience at this level and the squad gels, but he remains realistic about the challenge ahead:

“T20 is a game that is full of ups and downs, they are fast moving and situations change rapidly. We may have seen some good performances but in reality we go into the Qualifier starting from scratch. Switching on and playing really good cricket in the important games ahead is what really matters now.”

Ford also shared an insight into the impact a Head Coach can make during a T20 game:

“During game time the captain and the players need to think on their feet and make quick decisions. The coaches do not have a big impact on the day but do filter in thoughts on batting order options and the structuring of the innings. If we are bowling second, the coaches will look to assess conditions and offer thoughts on what appears to be suitable tactical options.”

The Irish squad has two training days, before facing Hong Kong is the first Group Stage match of the Qualifier tournament on Friday. The match, starting at 11.10am, will be broadcast on Sky Sports Cricket in Ireland and the UK.

FIXTURES


Ireland’s Qualifier fixtures – group stage

• 18 October: Ireland v Hong Kong
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
  Watch: Sky Sports Cricket
• 19 October: Ireland v UAE
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 7.30pm local time / 4.30pm Irish time
  Watch: Sky Sports Cricket
• 21 October: Ireland v Oman
  ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 23 October: Ireland v Canada
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 25 October: Ireland v Jersey
  ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time
• 26 October: Ireland v Nigeria
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time

SQUAD

The squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is:

Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), David Delany (Northern Knights), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

 


Ireland falls agonisingly short in World Cup Qualifier warm-up loss to Scotland

October 15th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Ireland falls agonisingly short in World Cup Qualifier warm-up loss to Scotland

Matthew Cross batting against Ireland

DUBAI – For the second match in a row between Ireland and Scotland the result has been a 1-run victory – this time to the Scots - after a courageous run chase saw the men in green defeated by the barest of margins in an ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier warm-up match today.

After losing the toss, Ireland bowled first on what seemed a batting-friendly track. The Scots top-order fired, and were 78-0 in the 7th over before the first wicket fell. The main damage was done by George Munsey who hit 86 runs from 41 balls – an innings which included five sixes. A quickfire 39 from 18 balls by Oli Hairs continued the momentum, but the middle-order succumbed to improved bowling, at one stage losing 5-47. Scotland’s final total of 210-8 was

For Ireland, David Delany returned to the side after missing the Oman series with an impressive 3-35, while spinners George Dockrell (2-36) and Gareth Delany (1-33) helped pull the run rate back.

 

Ireland’s response did not start well, losing Kevin O’Brien first ball for a duck, but soon gathered momentum. Led by Andy Balbirnie (70 from 48 balls), and supported by Gareth Delany (20 from 9 balls), Harry Tector (22 from 9 balls) and Gary Wilson (22 from 14 balls), the Irish batters kept pace with the run rate required into the middle-overs.

Momentum stalled just after the halfway mark of the run chase, and it took a powerful innings late on by Mark Adair (45 from 24 balls) to get Ireland within a single hit of an unlikely victory. Needing three runs from two balls, Adair fell from the penultimate ball, while David Delany was run out of the last ball making an attempt to get back for two and force a tie. Ireland’s 209-9 was an admirable chase, but agonisingly short, with Scotland prevailing by one run.

SUMMARY SCORECARD

Ireland Men v Scotland Men, T20 International, Dubai, 15 October 2019

  Scotland 210-8 (20 overs; G Munsey 86; D Delany 3-35)
  Ireland 209-9 (20 overs; A Balbirnie 70, M Adair 45; H Tahir 3-32)

Scotland won by 1 run

See full scorecard here.

UPCOMING FIXTURES


Ireland’s Qualifier fixtures – group stage

• 18 October: Ireland v Hong Kong
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
  Watch: Sky Sports Cricket
• 19 October: Ireland v UAE
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 7.30pm local time / 4.30pm Irish time
  Watch: Sky Sports Cricket
• 21 October: Ireland v Oman
  ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 23 October: Ireland v Canada
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 25 October: Ireland v Jersey
  ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time
• 26 October: Ireland v Nigeria
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time

SQUAD

The squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is:

Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), David Delany (Northern Knights), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

 


A Japanese Adventure: Walnut Taverners v The British Embassy Japan XI

October 14th 2019 by Philip Whelan | International, Other

A Japanese Adventure: Walnut Taverners v The British Embassy Japan XI

The Walnut Taverners v British Embassy Cricket Club

As the Irish Rugby team was running out at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, another Irish side was battling it out on a Japanese sports field. Philip Whelan from The Walnut Taverners takes up the story.

As a Dublin-based Taverner side which loves touring, ‘The Walnuts’ were really looking forward to this fixture. The idea was first mooted about 18 months previously by Pat Tunney and I began to explore the chance of playing a cricket match in Japan whilst following Ireland in the Rugby World Cup 2019.

Contact was made with Alex Naoki Miyaji, the President of Japan Cricket. Alex has done immense work in progressing cricket in Japan culminating with the success this year of the Japan U19’s qualifying for the World Cup in 2020. Alex kindly put us in touch with Alan Curr the CEO of Cricket Japan and he arranged the fixture between the Walnuts and the British Embassy Japan XI.

The match was to be played at 2pm on 23 September at Sano International Cricket Ground, which is about a two-hour drive north of Tokyo.  A T20 game was proposed following Taverner rules of 20 runs maximum per player, and each player bowling a minimum of one over and a maximum of three overs

It was with mixed emotions that we set off for Japan on September 19 as our Club President and dearest friend Dr. Pat Tunney had passed away in June. Together with myself he had helped to arrange and organise this trip and was so looking forward to it. He is deeply missed. May he Rest in Peace.

The logistics of putting together ANY Walnut Tour is a lesson in forbearance! 

Normally we have anything from 16 to 20 Players/(Support Guys..!) keen to hit the departure lounge at Dublin Airport suitably attired in Club polo’s and bonding together over a pint or two. But this trip was a little different, as some of our members were already in Japan - Dave Bursey was over in Japan playing for The Parliamentarians Rugby Team (he had already encountered Japanese culture, both physically and mentally, and had a head start on the rest of us), our international Lacrosse member Tadhg Bolger was in Shinjuku sipping Sake by the time we were checking in, and David Green was finishing a year out cycling across Asia.

Getting our group together from diverse locations across Japan for a 9.00am departure from our Hotel in Tokyo after the Ireland v Scotland match in Yokohama the evening before was worrying, but The Walnuts are made of sterner stuff!

Sano
Image: A fabulous backdrop to the game!

 

Despite a slight delay setting off, our star player and hijacked guide for the day, John Blakeney, steered us through the many train connections with ease. John is an ex-Merrion and Trinity player and indeed had played for the Paddy Foleys Cricket Club Japan from 2009 and 2011. He knew his way around.

We arrived at the Sano ground at 1.30 pm to find Big Dave already there. Nodding disapprovingly at our tardiness, he uttered: “What kept you?”

Got to admire his assertiveness!

After a few words of solace to Keith Franklin, the British Embassy Cricket Club (BECC) captain and a Scot, we dispensed of the coin toss and opted to bat first. If only the same spirit and ethos of cricket could be applied to Brexit, The Walnuts and the BECC could have solved that conundrum in one innings!

In very humid conditions and with temperatures hovering around the 30 degrees plus, our 10 remaining players took the field. Keith, in response, fielded a team of 10 to equal the numbers that we had available. Dave Bursey along with Asala Asanka Wickramaarachchige opened the batting for The Walnuts. Dave was very unlucky to be out early for 1 run to some fierce bowling from Mohamed Yusry, but Asala along with John Blakeney put up a great partnership reaching their 20 runs max wity some very impressive batting.

I was up next as fourth man, but succumbed to great bowling from Augustine Jacob - very cheaply out for a single run. The bowling from the BECC openers Jacob and Yusry was exceptional and they both picked up a handful of wickets between them. From a reasonable enough start our middle order collapsed with David Sheridan making 4, Andy Lamont 3 runs and only Hugo Lamont a respectable 12 runs. Tadhg Bolger and David Green, although they batted valiantly, were both out for a duck.

With Walnut player Graeme Cruickshank unable to bat due to injury, it was mutually agreed with Keith - the BECC Captain - that both Asala and John Blakeney could return to the crease to bat at 10 and 11.
They renewed their great opening partnership and put another 12 and 15 runs respectively on the board, both not out, after the 20 overs were up.

Great batting displays by both Asala and John gave us some hope in defending our total of 111 runs.

Unfortunately, it was not to be! 

Quick 20’s reached by Duncan Barker, Richard Bracefield, Vikram Rangunathan, and Player of The Match Mohamed Yusry paved the way for a BECC victory. The British Embassy Japan XI reached 114 in the 18th over.


Sano
Image: The Presentation ceremony!

 

Cricket may be a game of statistics, but no scorebook can convey the personalities - or the engagement between players - in a friendly but competitive Taverners cricket match. Our hosts were very accommodating and friendships made are always at the core of The Walnut Taverners when we take to the field of play. This is what makes cricket such a powerful sporting force.

Huge thanks to Keith Franklin, Robert Newman and Jason Fouracres - and indeed the entire British Embassy side - who afforded us such a memorable day. Also a word of thanks and appreciation to Alan and Alex of Japan Cricket whom we had the pleasure of meeting at the ground. Alex was with the Japan U19’s training at Sano when we arrived.


Sano
Image: The Walnut Taverners celebrate after the match


It was a special pleasure to have John, Asala, Graeme and Dave Bursey turn out for us and wear The Walnut Jersey with pride, and it was great to see newbie Walnuts Andy, Tadhg, Hugo and the two David’s (Green and Sheridan) play with great heart and spirit. And Hugo Lamont who did exceptionally well as wicketkeeper as well as having a great knock.

To all the people who came out to support us on the day, those who travelled with us - wives, partners and family members - and also some of the Irish contingent living in Japan who turned up to show support for The Walnuts a BIG THANK YOU.

Another Walnuts Tour comes to an end. Enjoyable and Entertaining. Friendships gained and friendships renewed.

Thank you Cricket Japan and the British Embassy Japan XI for allowing us to be part of a historic occasion.

- Philip.

Teams

Walnut Taverners
Dave Bursey, Asala Asanka Wickramaarachchige, John Blakeney, Philip Whelan (C), Dave Sheridan, Andy Lamont, Tadhg Bolger, Hugo Lamont (WK), David Green, Graeme Cruickshank.

British Embassy Japan XI
Robert Newman, Paul Christie, Duncan Barker (WK), Keith Franklin (C),  Richard Bracefield, Jason Fouracres, Augustine Jacob, Sam David, Mohamed Yusry, Vikram Rangunathan.

 

Sano
Image: The Walnut Taverners at the Rugby World Cup


Ireland in World Cup Qualifier warm-up win over Netherlands, and interview with George Dockrell

October 14th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Ireland in World Cup Qualifier warm-up win over Netherlands, and interview with George Dockrell

Ireland has won their first warm-up match today

ABU DHABI, UAE – Ireland Men’s cricket team has overcome a slow start to defeat the Netherlands in an ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier warm-up match today, as off-spinner George Dockrell discusses the team’s form and the demands of international cricket in 2019.

After losing the toss and being sent in to bat first, Ireland lost star opener Paul Stirling early for 5. Three further wickets fell in the next six overs and Ireland were precariously sitting at 55-4 in the 8th over, in desperate need of a counter-attacking innings. Up stepped captain Gary Wilson who struck 44 from 32 balls, including 5 fours and a six. He was ably supported by Harry Tector (21 from 20 balls) and Mark Adair (24 from 13 balls, including 2 sixes).

The Irish batters battled hard to build a competitive total against a determined Dutch attack, and ended up posting 156-8 from their 20 overs.


In response, the Dutch openers led by Tobias Visee started well, hitting 37 from the first 29 balls, but the wicket of Max O’Dowd (6) – a stumping by keeper Wilson from Gareth Delany, started a top-order collapse. Three wickets fell for six runs over the next 15 balls, and the Netherlands found themselves at 43-4 and a required run-rate heading towards 10 runs an over. The damage was mainly done by paceman Craig Young who claimed two wickets in the space of three balls. Young went on to finish with commendable figures of 3-21 from his 4 overs.

As the required run rate grew, further wickets tumbled – Mark Adair putting the icing on the Irish cake by claiming three wickets in the last five balls of the innings to finish with 3-28, and the Netherlands were bowled out for 126.

SUMMARY SCORECARD

Ireland Men v Netherlands Men, T20 International, Abu Dhabi, 14 October 2019

  Ireland 156-8 (20 overs; G Wilson 44; T van der Gugten 2-20)
  Netherlands 126 (20 overs; R ten Doeschate 46; C Young 3-21, M Adair 3-28)

Ireland won by 30 runs

See full scorecard here.

 

GEORGE DOCKRELL INTERVIEW

February 2020 will mark a decade since Ireland’s George Dockrell first stepped onto a cricket pitch in an Irish shirt. His enthusiasm and interest in the game and its development have not waned, and if anything, he has become far more attuned to ensuring he grows and develops his own game to meet the evolving nature and demands of the sport.

Speaking after today’s ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier warm-up match against the Netherlands in which he scored 9*, claimed 1-7 and took two catches (and a spectacular outfield diving catch), Dockrell believes you can never stand still in international cricket.

“I’ve definitely come a long way since my debut. Cricket is always evolving, and the cricket we play now is different to what and how we played nine years ago. You’ve just got to keep moving with that.”

“My game’s definitely more rounded from back then - I’d like to think I’m a lot better fielder and a lot better batter than I was. And with the bowling as well, with the huge amount of cricket that I’ve played, I’ve learnt a lot. I’m probably bowling a little quicker, and definitely have developed a few bowling tactics that quite frankly I wasn’t aware of when I was 17. To be honest, there’s still much to learn and you pick up stuff every game. Cricket, as does sport in general, always keeps moving the developing and you need to keep up with that. It will be a never-ending process for me.”


Dockrell
Image: George Dockrell bowling at Malahide last month


Dockrell, 27, made his international debut at the age of 17. The left-arm off spinner began his junior cricket career as more of a batter and wannabe pace bowler, but converted to off-spin in his mid-teens. While he has often joked that he doesn’t believe he would have lasted so long in international cricket if he wasn’t left-handed, the statistics speak otherwise and demonstrate he is there on merit. More than 280 international wickets at an average of 26.35 across all formats speaks of a highly effective spinner. Of the most wickets in a season rankings for Ireland, Dockrell’s name appears four times in the top 15 performances for Ireland.

He has also contributed handy lower-order runs with the bat, registering more than 1,200 runs at an average of 16.28 with three half-centuries.

Asked about his role in the side, he said:

“As a spinner, it is often your role to try and squeeze the batters in the middle overs. Often. if teams get away at the top during the powerplay, then those middle overs are an opportunity to pull things back. With most spinners that tends to be the role you play, but you have to be flexible as it depends on the conditions on the day.”

“It’s nice to have the complement of spinners that we have on this trip – Gareth Delany, Simi Singh and myself. Gareth has come in and done well over the last month or two, which has been great. Everyone has had a little game time in the last week [in Oman and today], which is important heading into the Qualifier proper. There’s going to be a lot of cricket out here over the next month, and you’d expect the pitches will become a little more worn as the tournament goes on. Spin tends to play a bigger role in those conditions, so it’s great we got some time in similar conditions this last week. The spin group works very well together and we’re looking forward to playing our part.”

Dockrell feels the side has had some great preparation in the lead up the Qualifier:

“We’ve had some good prep - especially the tough Tri-Series in Malahide where we got some good cricket under our belts. Then to come out to Muscat and perform the way we did on good pitches with some good tight contests, which is exactly what you want going into a tournament like this. So while we’re had some good prep and had some good game time, what will be important now is the mental side of things and how we apply ourselves from here on in - that’s probably going to be the biggest factor.”

“The Nepal game last week was a great experience – we posted a total a little below par, but it was great to come out and defend that, to show some fight with the ball and deliver under pressure. Some of our death bowling was great in closing out that game - it is exactly what you want going into the Qualifier.”

He also feels that T20 cricket has on the whole provided some great opportunities for international cricketers:

“I think the way T20 cricket has developed, especially with the T20 leagues around the world, players are playing more regularly against - and at times, with – a variety of opposition players from around the world. Most guys are pretty approachable to talk with about how they go about their cricket, so it’s been great being able to create opportunities for shared learning, which in turn creates a good atmosphere these days within international cricket. However, playing so much with and against other guys means you may know so much more about them, but they also know so much more about you as well.”

UPCOMING FIXTURES


Ireland’s Qualifier fixtures – group stage

• 15 October: Warm-up match - Ireland v Scotland
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 18 October: Ireland v Hong Kong
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
  Watch: Sky Sports Cricket
• 19 October: Ireland v UAE
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 7.30pm local time / 4.30pm Irish time
  Watch: Sky Sports Cricket
• 21 October: Ireland v Oman
  ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 23 October: Ireland v Canada
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 25 October: Ireland v Jersey
  ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time
• 26 October: Ireland v Nigeria
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time

SQUAD

The squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is:

Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), David Delany (Northern Knights), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

 

 


Coach developers share knowledge and experience at national workshop

October 11th 2019 by Brett Reid | International, Coaching

Coach developers share knowledge and experience at national workshop

The group that attended the first workshop in Dundalk

Over 30 coach developers from across the four Provincial Unions gathered for the Cricket Ireland Coach Developer Training Workshop at the Dundalk Sports Centre on 6 October 2019.

This was the first workshop of its kind to be led solely by trainers from within the Cricket Ireland coaching community.

Representatives from Cricket Scotland, Hockey Ireland, and Sport Northern Ireland also attended, each adding an invaluable international or cross-sport contribution to the day.

The course was expertly led by trainers Andy McCrea and Brian Kelleher, who were supported by a group of experienced coach developers that voluntarily gave of their time and own expertise to deliver a series of practical sessions.

 

The primary aim of the workshop was to build the capacity and capability of coach developers in the Provincial Unions so that the Unions can meet the increasing demand for the two new Cricket Ireland coaching courses, Coaching Kids 5-11 Years, and Coaching Cricket. But the day was about more than just building a coach developer workforce able to deliver the two courses.

Brett Reid, Cricket Ireland’s Coach Development Manager, said:

“For me, a key outcome for the workshop was the sharing of knowledge and experience, with a view to encouraging collaboration in the coach developer space. We are fortunate to have some truly outstanding trainers and coach developers, and it’s important we create opportunities for everyone to learn from each other.”

“I also want to acknowledge the work and support of each of the Provincial Unions in identifying a group of coach developers who will be able to facilitate great experiences for coaches attending the courses.”

“To grow the game, we need to ensure the participants, whoever they may be, have positive experiences. For new and emerging coaches, the coach developers delivering courses and workshops are so important in this regard.”

Cricket Ireland will continue to work closely with the unions around the ongoing training and support of coach developers. In addition, based on feedback from this year’s workshop, we will be exploring with each of the unions the opportunity to have an annual Cricket Ireland coach developer training event.

With thanks to O’Neills for their continued support to all our coaches through the Cricket Ireland Coaches Association.


Kim Garth returns to Women’s Big Bash League with Perth Scorchers

October 11th 2019 by Cricket Ireland + Perth Scorchers | International, Women

Kim Garth returns to Women’s Big Bash League with Perth Scorchers

Kim Garth is joining the Perth Scorchers

PERTH, Australia – Ireland Women’s vice-captain Kim Garth will return to play in the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia after signing with the Perth Scorchers.

Having played in the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League during the second and third editions of the competition, the 23-year-old said she’s excited to be back playing in Australia:

“It came to me as a bit of a shock, I was playing in a World Cup qualifier at the time and when I heard the Scorchers wanted to sign me I was over the moon. It’s incredibly exciting to be back playing in the Big Bash, it’s the best domestic competition in the world and it goes from strength-to-strength each year. We have some incredible players this year with the likes of Meg Lanning and Nat Sciver, so I’m most excited about hopefully learning of those guys and challenging myself against the best in the world.”

“I didn’t know many of my teammates before joining up with the squad this week, so it’s been exciting coming into a new team and seeing how they go about their stuff. They’ve been very welcoming so far and have made it very easy for me. As for the city, I’ve visited Perth a couple of times, it’s a brilliant place and I can’t wait to get started.”

Garth was part of a successful Sydney Sixers squad during the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 competitions, during which time her side won two titles. Garth’s last appearance in the WBBL was the Final in February 2018 when the Sixers defeated the Scorchers in the decider. Garth made an important contribution to the win taking 1-7 from 2 overs, which followed on from an equally impressive performance in the preceding semi-final where she claimed 2-14 from 3 overs.


Kim

 

Scorchers Head Coach Lisa Keightley said:

“It’s great to see Kim back playing in the Big Bash competition, she comes into our squad with valuable WBBL experience and had a great impact with the ball. I’m really excited with the squad we have put together, we have great flexibility across the board which will be the key to our campaign.”

“I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in action this season. We’re all itching to get going with the competition, the momentum of the WBBL has been building nicely and people know how exciting the product is. The opportunity we have to help take the game to the next level is in front of us and we’re ready for the challenge.”

Perth Scorchers begin their 2019 WBBL campaign against the Melbourne Renegades at St Kilda’s CitiPower Centre on Wednesday 23 October 2019.

You can follow the competition here: www.bigbash.com.au

 

 


INTERVIEW: Warren Deutrom from Lahore, Pakistan

October 10th 2019 by Pakistan Cricket Board | International, Other

INTERVIEW: Warren Deutrom from Lahore, Pakistan

Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom in interview

LAHORE - Cricket Ireland’s Chairman and Chief Executive spent two days in Pakistan this week after accepting an invitation from the Pakistan Cricket Board to visit the country and attend the latest Pakistan v Sri Lanka T20I.

Speaking with the PCB Podcast, Warren Deutrom said: “It is a great pleasure to be here. First of all, we have been treated fabulously well. The courtesy, the generosity, the hospitality, the warmth, the love of cricket is plainly obvious for anyone to see.

“Cricket Ireland is now a Test nation and we certainly feel it is important that we play our part in being a mature and grownup member of the cricket family. We want to play our part in assisting getting international cricket back in Pakistan.

“To be honest until you see it for yourself, you come with a set of preconceptions, and I think this visit, which was generously made at the invitation of the Pakistan Cricket Board, would begin to change those perceptions.

“What we saw in Islamabad and Lahore is the extraordinary lengths to which the cricket authorities, the security authorities, the government and police, have been working together to restore a sense of normality. It begins to build a sense of confidence around the situation on the ground bearing in mind the cricket tours that have taken place and are being planned by other Full Members, the upcoming visit by senior members of the UK Royal Family, even the resumption of a regular airline service by the likes of British Airways. So, it is the beginning, I believe, of a conversation.”

“We have a board meeting at the end of this month and we shall convey to the board what we have seen and the steps that are being taken to restore that level of confidence in other cricket boards around the world. We will do what we always have always done when we consider such tours, which is to engage with our governments, security experts and insurers, and of course talk to our players. We will speak with the other boards that have been here in the past, obviously Sri Lanka Cricket, and others that have come here in recent years. Should we receive an invitation, we will go through the steps above and will take it extremely seriously.”

 

 

 

 

 


PROGRESS: Lara Maritz at the ICC Women’s Global Development Squad

October 10th 2019 by Cricket Ireland | International, Women

PROGRESS: Lara Maritz at the ICC Women’s Global Development Squad

Lara Maritz celebrates a wicket against the Adelaide Strikers

Ireland’s Lara Maritz was last week selected for the ICC Women’s Global Development Squad. Below are the details, updates and scorecards of the tour.

The ICC Women’s Global Development Squad

The WGDS, launched in 2018, is an initiative that aims to provide the opportunity for high-performing players outside the ICC Women’s Championship to develop their skills, ensuring women’s cricket continues to go from strength to strength. Maritz becomes the fifth Irish player to be selected in the current WGDS programme, after Gaby Lewis, Shauna Kavanagh and Lucy O’Reilly (in 2018) and Celeste Raack (in 2019).

WGDS squad

Bismah Maroof (captain, Pakistan), Rumana Ahmed, Nigar Sultana Joty (Bangladesh), Ni Made Putri Suwandewi (Indonesia), Lara Martiz (Ireland), Hannah Rowe (New Zealand), Kaia Arua, Tanya Ruma (Papua New Guinea), Katie McGill, Sarah Bryce (Scotland), Sornnarin Tippoch, Suleeporn Laomi, Naruemol Chaiwai (Thailand), Sean Trouw (Head Coach – Netherlands), Peter Ross (Assistant Coach - Scotland)


WGDS
Image: The WGDS squad ahead of the matches this week

The squad will start with a team-building and training session before playing six T20s in Melbourne and Hobart:

Fixtures

Melbourne fixtures
• 9 October: WGDS v Melbourne Renegades/Melbourne Stars Combined XI
• 10 October: WGDS v Strikers; WGDS v Melbourne Renegades/Melbourne Stars Combined XI
• 11 October: WGDS v Adelaide Strikers

Hobart fixtures
• 13 October: WGDS v Hobart Hurricanes/Tasmanian Tigers Combined XI
• 14 October: WGDS v Hobart Hurricanes/Tasmanian Tigers Combined XI


Match 1: WGDS v Melbourne Renegades/Melbourne Stars Combined XI

The WGDS batted first and scored 111 (not 115 as the last ball was a wicket, not a 4) and the Victorian Combined XI team were restricted to 99 runs. Lara claimed 2-17 with the ball.

The squad then went on a tour of the MCG and visited the T20 World Cup offices.

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Match 2: WGDS v Adelaide Strikers

The Strikers batted first and scored 160-5, and then restricted the WGDS team to 105-6 in reply. Lara claimed 2-23 with the ball.

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Match 3: WGDS v Melbourne Renegades/Melbourne Stars Combined XI

The Victoria side batted first and scored 132-5, and then restricted the WGDS team to 96-9 in reply. Lara claimed 1-18 with the ball and 4* with the bat.

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Cricket Ireland thanks Stuart Poynter

October 9th 2019 by Cricket Ireland | International, Other

Cricket Ireland thanks Stuart Poynter

Thanks Stuart!

DUBLIN – Cricket Ireland has today acknowledged the international career of Stuart Poynter, as the Durham-based wicketkeeper-batsman signs a two-year deal with Durham County Cricket Club signifying the end of his international career with Ireland.

Richard Holdsworth, Performance Director at Cricket Ireland, said:

“On behalf of the coaches, players past and present, and staff at Cricket Ireland I would like to thank Stuart for his service to Irish cricket since he made his debut for Ireland in 2011. Stuart has played 60 times for the national side, his last appearance being his Test debut against Afghanistan in early 2019.”

“He has certainly been one of a cohort of players who has been part of the rapid climb of Irish cricket over the last decade from Associate Member to Full Member with Test match status, and I’m pleased for Stuart personally that he played in a Test match before he finished with international duties.”

“We wish Stuart and his family well with the next phase in their lives and hope that we see him regularly supporting the Irish team as we ourselves move into the next phase of our development.”


Stuart Poynter made his international debut for Ireland in a first-class match against Namibia in September 2011. With the gloves, he finished with 49 dismissals behind the stumps (43 catches / 6 stumpings), and with the bat he made 897 runs at an average of 20.39, including two centuries.

See Stuart Poynter’s career profile here.

Poynter
Image: Stuart Poynter keeping in his debut Test match in 2019

Poynter
Image: Stuart Poynter in action against Oman in February 2019


Interview: Captain Gary Wilson speaking after today’s win over Nepal

October 9th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Interview: Captain Gary Wilson speaking after today’s win over Nepal

Captain Gary Wilson is pleased with his side's progress - but feels they haven't played their best game yet

MUSCAT – Following Ireland’s win over Nepal in the today’s T20 International in Oman, Captain Gary Wilson was speaking about his squad, the performances over the last week and looking ahead to the start of the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier next week.

Speaking from the Al Amerat Cricket Ground in Muscat, he said:

“I think it’s fair to say that we haven’t put a complete game of cricket together yet this week, and we’re probably still waiting to play our best game. The Hong Kong game on Monday was very good, with that incredible effort of Kevin’s in getting 124 and then bowling pretty tightly as well, but for me the most pleasing game of the last week was perhaps today’s game against Nepal. We really had to scrap around in the end to get to 145 with the bat - I thought Stuart Thompson was outstanding at the end of that innings – but what was more pleasing was the way we kept fighting in the field and the way the bowlers bowled was excellent.”

“We’ve had some very good batting performances of late, and we’ve spoken about the top 3 or 4 taking responsibility to put up big scores – which for us is really the key to putting big team scores on or chasing down big targets.”

Asked about his approach to managing his bowlers, he said:

“In terms of bowler rotation, it’s very much a game-by-game basis. Dockers [George Dockrell] today, for example, bowled his four overs right through, but on other days it might be one, two or three over spells. It’s very much what we feel is required at that time or on a particular day.”

Asked about the feeling in the squad and how comfortably some of the new players seem to have settled in, he said:

“We are pretty confident as a squad overall - the last two to three weeks have helped massively, even going back to the inter-squad games there were a lot of good performances put in there. It’s particularly pleasing to see young guys come into the side and sticking their hands up. Mark Adair I thought has been particularly good with the ball, and then Gareth [Delany] and Harry [Tector] have done a great job with the bat - and Gareth with the ball as well.”

“I guess we’d like to think we have a good dynamic and it’s a credit to the coaching staff who first of all produced those guys, and then the coaching staff we have here as well. And credit to the guys themselves as well who have come into the team and want to put their own mark on it - and they’ve been able to do that.”

Asked about what the next few days entail, he said:

“We’ll have a few days off now. We head to the UAE on Friday and will probably get back into training when we get there. The players will just try to relax and recover in the meantime after what has been a pretty gruelling week in the heat. It’s been tough getting used to conditions - it may have said 34 or 35 on the old thermometer, but it certainly feels a lot hotter than that out there in the middle. But the whole week has been an outstanding exercise for us and overall we’re happy with where we are at going into the Qualifier next week.”


The Irish squad now has a rest day after completing their matches in the Pentangular T20I Series in Oman. They then move to Abu Dhabi on Thursday ahead of the start of the Qualifier.

 

Ireland’s Qualifier fixtures – group stage


14 October: Warm-up match - Ireland v Netherlands
  Venue TBC; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
15 October: Warm-up match - Ireland v Scotland
  Venue TBC; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
18 October: Ireland v Hong Kong
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
  Watch: Sky Sports Cricket
19 October: Ireland v UAE
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 7.30pm local time / 4.30pm Irish time
  Watch: Sky Sports Cricket
21 October: Ireland v Oman
  ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
23 October: Ireland v Canada
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
25 October: Ireland v Jersey
  ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time
26 October: Ireland v Nigeria
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time

SQUAD

The squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is:

• Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), David Delany (Northern Knights), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

 

 


Ireland’s bowlers swing the game in tight win against Nepal

October 9th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Ireland’s bowlers swing the game in tight win against Nepal

George Dockrell bowled Ireland back into the game

MUSCAT, Oman – Ireland’s bowlers - led by George Dockrell and Mark Adair who claimed three wickets apiece - have led their side to a 13-run victory in a close match against Nepal at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground in Muscat.

For the fourth match in a row, Ireland captain Gary Wilson won the toss – this time choosing to bat first. Despite losing the in-form Kevin O’Brien early, Paul Stirling (59) and Andy Balbirnie (38) got Ireland off to a blistering start. The pair put on 88 runs in 59 balls, punishing anything short and playing lofted shots down the ground when the Nepalese bowlers over-pitched.

Looking set for a big total at 95-1 in the 12th over, a collapse saw Ireland ominously lose 7-29 – the Nepal bowling attack using variation of pace and length to great effect. The 19-year old leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane leading the way with 2-22, matched by medium-pacer Abinash Bohara who also finished with a tight 2-22.

The Irish total was given a late boost via a cameo innings by Stuart Thompson who scored 21* from 11 balls, which included two big sixes, but the final score of 145-8 was well below what would have been expected after the rapid start.

 


In response, Nepal’s top order batters made steady and confident progress early with Ishan Pandey (22), captain Paras Khadka (25) and Aarif Sheikh (26) setting a solid platform. With the score at 73-1 in the 10th over, and the Nepalese looking comfortable, a combination of excellent fielding and tight, spin bowling in the middle overs by Dockrell and Simi Singh pulled the Nepal batters back and began to build pressure.

As the run rate required grew steadily higher, wickets began to fall. Dockrell’s economical bowling was rewarded with wickets (3-23) and Mark Adair again showed his knack of taking important scalps and finished with (3-22), and also effected an athletic run out off his own bowling. In support, Irish fans will be pleased to once again see 22-year old leg spinner Gareth Delany bowl confidently, taking 2-30 from his four overs.

In the end, the crucial late runs scored by Thompson at the end of the Irish innings proved the difference, and Nepal were all out in their final over for 132.

While the Irish batting today did not fire as hoped, Head Coach Graham Ford will be pleased that his bowlers stood up under pressure, and the fielding and catching was almost without blemish. Such experience will be important heading into the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier, which starts on 18 October 2019 where they will play Hong Kong in the first Group Stage match.

The Irish squad now has a rest day after completing their matches in the Pentangular T20I Series in Oman. They then move to Abu Dhabi on Thursday ahead of the start of the Qualifier.

The current series currently sees Ireland sitting at the top of the table, however, need some favourable results elsewhere to claim the series title.

SUMMARY SCORECARD

Ireland Men v Nepal Men, T20 International, Al Amerat Cricket Ground, 9 October 2019

  Ireland 145-8 (20 overs; P Stirling 59; S Lamichhane 2-22, A Bohara 2-22)
  Nepal 132 (19.5 overs; A Sheikh 26; M Adair 3-22, G Dockrell 3-23)

Ireland won by 13 runs

See full scorecard here.
Rewind - follow the Match Thread on Twitter

 


Interview: Mark Adair enjoying life on the ‘international cricket’ road

October 8th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Interview: Mark Adair enjoying life on the ‘international cricket’ road

Mark Adair at Lord's, July 2019

MUSCAT – In December 2018, Mark Adair received an email advising of his selection for the Ireland Wolves tour to Sri Lanka. Little did he realise that this email would be the beginning of a rollercoaster year that would see him burst onto the international stage against England in an ODI, open the attack at Lord’s in a Test match, and now has him on the verge of leading the Irish attack at the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier.

Adair, 23, has been on the Irish selectors radar since 2013 when he was offered a trial with Warwickshire County Cricket Club. After 5 years on Warwickshire’s books, Adair returned to Ireland to play in the Test Triangle Inter-Provincial Series for the Northern Knights in 2018. He performed well enough to earn a spot on the Wolves tour.

Speaking from his hotel in Muscat, Adair looked back at that time:

“Yeah, it’s been a very big year. In January I was out in Sri Lanka with the Wolves. Unfortunately I missed out on the subsequent senior squad’s trip to Oman and India, which was disappointing at the time, but things can change quickly, as they did, and I haven’t looked back.”

Missing the Oman series and Afghanistan series in early 2019 only served to re-double Adair’s resolve to strive for international honours, and early provincial season form saw him make his much acclaimed debut in the One-Day International against England at Malahide (his debut cap was presented on match day by the former international Niall O’Brien). Coming in at number 8, Adair struck an aggressive 32 from 30 balls – including two massive sixes of Tom Curran in one over, and swatting Jofra Archer to the boundary to the cheers of the Malahide crowd. He then delivered a fiery spell of bowling that gave a glimpse for fans of his all-round potential at this level.

 

Adair maintained his place through the ODI Tri-Series in May against West Indies and Bangladesh, but it wasn’t until the two-match ODI series against Afghanistan that followed that he started to relax and results followed. His bowling returns of 4-19 and 3-71 demonstrated his wicket-taking abilities with the white ball. This was further reinforced by his 10-wicket haul over five matches against Zimbabwe in July (that included two 4-fers), but all paled in comparison to his next international outing.

In just six months, Adair had gone from bowling in Sri Lanka with the Ireland Wolves to standing at the top of his mark running into bowl from the Pavilion End at Lord’s Cricket Ground in a Test match.

Returns of 3-32 and 3-66 cemented fans belief that Ireland had found an all-round talent who could deliver on the big stage.

Come September, Adair was leading the line in the T20I squad as well, and although part of an ultimately successful campaign, Adair was quite grounded in his reflection of the squad’s performance in the GS Holding T20I Tri-Series:

“The Tri-Series was good, and it’s been good to focus on T20I cricket for a while, but I don’t think we put a complete game together during the series. We didn’t bowl well and bat well in the same match, but we did a lot of good things throughout. It would have been nice to have gone unbeaten, but it was great to get that final win. Probably our biggest takeaway was that we needed to improve on closing out both with ball and with bat.”

While a rollercoaster year so far, Adair acknowledges that having the experienced captaincy of Gary Wilson at both provincial and international level has aided his rise:

“Gary’s captaincy has been good - he adds a great deal of experience to any team he plays in and that’s certainly something that has helped me.”

“You can bring in all the new players you want, give them a go and have an exciting young team, but you can’t replace experience quickly. So having the likes of Gary and Kev [O’Brien] - even Stirlo [Paul Stirling] and Bal [Andy Balbirnie] – around is great. There’s a lot of cricket between them for you to draw upon. And most importantly, Gary’s got that bit of a cool head, that really helps when your skipper has that approach. He’s pretty hands off once he gets to know and understand you as a bowler or a batter. He allows you to play your own way, which is really appreciated.”


The Ireland Men’s squad has one more T20 International to play in Oman against Nepal tomorrow, before heading to Abu Dhabi where they will compete in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier.

FIXTURES


Ireland’s remaining fixture in Oman

• 9 October: Ireland v Nepal (Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat, 6.30am Irish time)

Ireland’s Qualifier fixtures – group stage

• 14 October: Warm-up match - Ireland v Netherlands
  Venue TBC; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 15 October: Warm-up match - Ireland v Scotland
  Venue TBC; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 18 October: Ireland v Hong Kong
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
  Watch: Sky Sports Cricket
• 19 October: Ireland v UAE
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 7.30pm local time / 4.30pm Irish time
  Watch: Sky Sports Cricket
• 21 October: Ireland v Oman
  ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 23 October: Ireland v Canada
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 25 October: Ireland v Jersey
  ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time
• 26 October: Ireland v Nigeria
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time

SQUADS

The squad for the Oman series is:

• Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Barry McCarthy (Leinster Lightning), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

The squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is:

• Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), David Delany (Northern Knights), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

 


Interview: Kevin O’Brien on his record-breaking century in Oman

October 8th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Interview: Kevin O’Brien on his record-breaking century in Oman

Kevin O'Brien hit Ireland's first-ever T20I century yesterday in Oman

MUSCAT – Until yesterday, only 13 cricketers in the world had hit an international century in all three formats of the game. Now it is 14, with Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien adding his name to that list. O’Brien’s scintillating century against Hong Kong was also not only his first T20 International ton, but the first-ever for Ireland too.

O’Brien has had a busy year – not only has he played 30 times for Ireland across all three formats of the game, but domestically he has featured in a double-trophy winning Leinster Lightning side in the Test Triangle Inter-Provincial Series, and his club side won the Clear Currency National Cup for the first time last month.

Cap number 655 for Ireland, O’Brien first appeared in the green on 11 June 2006 in a List A match against Sussex. Now, just over 13 years later, the Dublin-born all-rounder is approaching his 350th appearance for Ireland (currently 349). Along the way he has collected a number of records, including fastest century in the Cricket World Cup (2011), first Test century for Ireland (2018) and now first T20I century for Ireland (2019).

Routinely reinventing his game, he has only this year been elevated to the opening role in T20I this year and the move has seen him flourish. In 2019, O’Brien has scored 583 runs from an incredible 353 balls in 14 innings, an average of 41.64 and a strike rate of 165.16. This is currently the fourth highest number of runs in a calendar year in T20I cricket history, and he still has potentially eight to ten more matches to play before the end of the calendar year.

Speaking from his hotel in Muscat on a rare day off of late from playing or training, O’Brien said:

“It’s obviously a very proud moment to score the first T20I century for Ireland. I’m very happy with the way it’s turning out since moving to the top of the order, and hopefully the form can continue for the next 2 to 3 weeks leading into the World Cup Qualifier.”

“The squad is progressing nicely and, despite a little setback against Oman, all-in-all we’re playing some good cricket. We’re putting up some good totals, we’re fielding very well in most games, and we’re starting to improve slowly with the ball. We’ve still got three games before the first Qualifier match in Abu Dhabi, so if we can continue this trend we’ll be in a good position. Fingers crossed we can use the next three games as good preparation and look to win all three - they’ll be three tough games so we’ll have to play well.”

 

The Ireland Men’s squad has one more T20 International to play in Oman against Nepal tomorrow, before heading to Abu Dhabi where they will compete in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier.


PLAYERS WHO HAVE SCORED INTERNATIONAL CENTURIES IN ALL THREE FORMATS

• Chris Gayle (West Indies)
• Brendon McCullum (New Zealand)
• Suresh Raina (India)
• Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka)
• Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka)
• Martin Guptill (New Zealand)
• Ahmed Shehzad (Pakistan)
• Faf du Plessis (South Africa)
• Rohit Sharma (India)
• Shane Watson (Australia)
• Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh)
• Glenn Maxwell (Australia)
• KL Rahul (India)
• Kevin O’Brien (Ireland)

FIXTURES


Ireland’s remaining fixture in Oman

• 9 October: Ireland v Nepal (Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat, 6.30am Irish time)

Ireland’s Qualifier fixtures – group stage

• 14 October: Warm-up match - Ireland v Netherlands
  Venue TBC; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 15 October: Warm-up match - Ireland v Scotland
  Venue TBC; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 18 October: Ireland v Hong Kong
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
  Watch: Sky Sports Cricket
• 19 October: Ireland v UAE
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 7.30pm local time / 4.30pm Irish time
  Watch: Sky Sports Cricket
• 21 October: Ireland v Oman
  ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 23 October: Ireland v Canada
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 2.10pm local time / 11.10am Irish time
• 25 October: Ireland v Jersey
  ADC 1, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time
• 26 October: Ireland v Nigeria
  Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi; start 10am local time / 7am Irish time

SQUADS

The squad for the Oman series is:

• Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Barry McCarthy (Leinster Lightning), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

The squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is:

• Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), David Delany (Northern Knights), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

 

 


Cricket Ireland welcomes eFlow support, while Gaby Lewis heads to Australia for six month stint

October 7th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International, Women, Other

Cricket Ireland welcomes eFlow support, while Gaby Lewis heads to Australia for six month stint

Kim Garth and Mary Waldron at the eFlow announcement

DUBLIN – Cricket Ireland has welcomed the support of eFlow and Sport Ireland, after the two entities signed a partnership to support Ireland’s elite athletes - which includes the six contracted players in the Ireland Women’s squad.

Eleven national sporting bodies who have either a full or part-time training centre at the Sport Ireland Campus will benefit from this sponsorship in the lead up to the international competition. The sponsorship will see up to €3,000 worth of tolls assistance made available to the six players when accessing the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus via toll roads for training.

Richard Holdsworth, Performance Director at Cricket Ireland, said:

“The support from eFlow and Sport Ireland is a timely one, given the end of the home season means most of the senior contracted players will be spending a great deal of time travelling to and from the National Sports Campus. The contribution is welcome recognition for the hidden costs that many athletes typically bear in pursuit of their sporting dreams and we hope that this partnership may even lead to other companies looking at how they can play their part in supporting Irish sport.”


Athletes
Image: Mary and Kim feature amongst some of Ireland’s elite athletes at the announcement

 


Gaby Lewis heads Down Under

While welcome news for the six cricketers involved, one player who will not be seeking to utilise the support immediately is Gaby Lewis, who has just departed for a six-month stint playing club cricket in Australia:

“It’s very exciting – I’m spending six months with Prahan Cricket Club in Melbourne – playing with the likes of Jess Duffin, Emma Inglis and Annabel Sutherland, who all play in the Women’s Big Bash League.”

“When I went on the ICC Rookie Programme with the Melbourne Renegades during the 2017-18 season, the assistant coach Carl Sandri invited me to come back to play for the club he coaches [Prahran Cricket Club]. It’s taken 18 months or so, but I’m now taking him up on his offer.”

“This will be the second time I’ve been to Melbourne – the first being when I was on the Rookie Programme - it’s definitely been my favourite place I’ve been to in Australia, so I’m looking for to spending an extended time in the city and playing some competitive cricket. My goals are to play as much cricket as possible, train as hard as I can ahead of the 2020 season, and also test myself constantly against top quality opposition. And of course to enjoy the sunshine and the Australian coffee!”

Lewis will return to Ireland at the end of March 2020 ahead of a summer that will include a 50-over World Cup Qualifier in July.

Gaby Lewis
Image: Gaby Lewis is in Australia for six months


O’Brien smashes century as Ireland inflict a heavy defeat on Hong Kong

October 7th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

O’Brien smashes century as Ireland inflict a heavy defeat on Hong Kong

Kevin O'Brien hit Ireland's first-ever T20I century, finishing on 124 from 62 balls

MUSCAT, Oman – Ireland Men’s first Test match centurion became Ireland Men’s first T20 International centurion today, as Kevin O’Brien smashed 124 in leading his side to a 66-run win over Hong Kong at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground in Muscat.

Ireland captain Gary Wilson won the toss and chose to bat first, looking to make first use of a wearing pitch on a humid day in Oman. Openers O’Brien and Paul Stirling (36 from 27 balls) began with a whirlwind 80-run stand from 50 balls to give Ireland a great platform for the innings. In recent times Head Coach Graham Ford has highlighted an area of improvement for this young side was to finish off an innings after a good start, but there was no cause for concern today.

With O’Brien in imperious form, the other Irish batters simply looked to support him. He brought up his half-century off 29 balls, then accelerated further to bring up his maiden T20I century in just 24 more balls. This was not only O’Brien’s first T20I century, but the first century registered for Ireland in T20I history.

Ireland’s second-highest run-scorer in this format pressed on and was finally out for 124 from 62 balls. His innings was punctuated by 12 fours and 7 sixes – continuing his fine run of form in T20I cricket for the national side which has seen him score 296 runs at an average of 49.33 in six innings over the last three weeks.

 


Ireland’s final total of 208-5 was its third-highest ever in T20I cricket, and its first to break the 200-mark in T20Is since 2017.

With little to lose, the Hong Kong batters tried to hit out from the off, but found scoring more difficult than the Irish side earlier in the day. 20-year old Haroon Arshad, in only his second T20I, was the only batter to really master conditions, scoring 45 from 27 balls – his innings including 4 fours and 2 sixes. Ehsan Khan made it a good all-round day for himself after taking 3-32 with the ball by scoring some late consolation runs (28* from 19 balls), but the Irish bowlers were in firm control throughout and Hong Kong finished on 142-9.

For Ireland, Boyd Rankin bowled superbly to conditions taking 2-21 from 4 overs, Stuart Thompson chimed in with 2-25, and 22-year old leg-spinner Gareth Delany again bowled well taking 2-27.

The Irish squad now has a day off tomorrow, before their final match of the current series against Nepal on Wednesday. That match will start at 6.30am (Irish time).

SUMMARY SCORECARD

Ireland Men v Hong Kong Men, T20 International, Al Amerat Cricket Ground in Muscat, 7 October 2019

  Ireland 208-5 (20 overs; K O’Brien 124, P Stirling 36; E Khan 3-32)
  Hong Kong 142 (20 overs; H Arshad 45; B Rankin 2-21, S Thompson 2-25, G Delany 2-27)

Ireland won by 66 runs

See full scorecard here.

 


Ireland slip up to Oman despite positive signs in second T20 International

October 6th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Ireland slip up to Oman despite positive signs in second T20 International

Oman gave a slick all-round performance today to defeat Ireland

MUSCAT, Oman – Ireland Men’s cricket team has fallen to a slick Oman side by 43 runs in today’s T20 International at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground in Muscat.

Ireland captain Gary Wilson won the toss and chose to bowl first, with only one change made from yesterday’s winning side – Boyd Rankin rested and Stuart Thompson coming in. The home side started poorly losing opener Khawar Ali for a duck from the third ball. Despite some big hitting from Aqib Ilyas (21) and more patient batting from Jatinder Singh (40), further early wickets fell and Oman was 42-3 in the 7th over.

An 83-run fourth-wicket partnership between Singh and Aamir Kaleem (46) allowed Oman to build a defendable total, but late wickets restricted their batters and they finished on 173-9 from their 20 overs – with the 14 runs from the final four balls of the innings giving their final score a late boost. Mark Adair’s bowling threatened throughout (2-28) and Stuart Thompson’s 2-21 was his side’s most economical return.

 

Ireland’s response started confidently, despite the early loss of Paul Stirling (4). Kevin O’Brien’s 39 from 16 balls was looking to take the game away early from Oman, supported by Andy Balbirnie’s 19 from 13 balls, but a rash of wickets saw Ireland stumble from 54-1 to 109-8 by the end of the 13th over.

Much of the damage was done by Mohammad Nadeem who grabbed 3-14 from 4 overs through the middle overs, putting the brakes on any Irish thoughts of a late charge. A late innings of 18 from Adair only served to put respectability in his side’s score, and when the final wicket fell, Ireland were 43 runs short of Oman.

While the result brings the Irish side back to earth after yesterday’s confident win, Head Coach Graham Ford will be pleased with some patches of play – Mark Adair’s early bowling, Kevin O’Brien’s contribution at the top of the order, and the young players continuing to look comfortable playing at this level – but he will be looking for the side to take the learnings out of this match into their next two encounters against Hong Kong and Nepal. All games will be seen as providing important experience ahead of the all important ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier that starts in less than a fortnight.

Oman now go top of the series table with two wins from two, and Ireland currently sit second. Ireland’s next game is tomorrow against a Trent Johnston-coached Hong Kong side at the same venue, starting at 11am (Irish time).

 

SUMMARY SCORECARD

Ireland Men v Oman Men, T20 International, Muscat, 6 October 2019

  Oman 172-9 (20 overs; A Kaleem 46; S Thompson 2-21, M Adair 2-28)
  Ireland 130 (16.2 overs; K O’Brien 39; M Nadeem 3-14)

Oman won by 43 runs

See full scorecard here.

 

 


Ireland begins Oman T20I series with a confident win over Netherlands

October 5th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Ireland begins Oman T20I series with a confident win over Netherlands

Andy Balbirnie drives through point

MUSCAT, Oman – Ireland Men’s cricket team started its Middle-Eastern T20I campaign with a confident 6 wicket victory over the Netherlands at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground in Muscat today.

Ireland captain Gary Wilson won the toss and chose to bowl first. The Dutch batters started sprightly, finding themselves at 69-1 in the 7th over before Max O’Dowd (38) was run out in a clever piece of fielding by Mark Adair and George Dockrell. Ben Cooper (65) and Colin Ackermann (27) then progressed the score to 124 in the 14th over through turning the strike over regularly, and Cooper taking on the aggressor role hitting 8 fours and 1 six in his 45-ball knock.

With five overs left in their innings, the Dutch side was set to launch in the last 30 balls at 130-3, but some well-controlled and full-length bowling by the Irish bowlers saw four wickets tumble and just 37 runs conceded. The last over, bowled by Craig Young, claimed two of the wickets for a miserly 7 runs.

Netherlands went into the innings break with 167-7 on the board, a target Ireland would have felt within range.

 

Pleasingly for Ireland, all top-order batters contributed towards what would end up being a comfortable run chase. The experienced of Paul Stirling (23), Kevin O’Brien (23) and Andy Balbirnie (32) set the platform at the outset, while the youngsters Gareth Delany (29), Harry Tector (47*) and Mark Adair (10*) saw Ireland home with 10 balls to spare.

Tector particularly looked comfortable in what is just his third international match, and having started his T20I career with scores of 21, 60 and 47*, Head Coach Graham Ford will be pleased that has hopefully found a classy middle-order batsman for the long-term.

Ireland finished the run chase in a flurry, the last three balls going for a six and two boundaries, and the target was passed with 10 balls to spare

After the game, Captain Gary Wilson said:

“We chose to bowl first on a pitch we were unfamiliar with. We thought we would back ourselves in the run chase. We were very confident in our line-up, and that line-up can be pretty flexible depending on the match circumstances, as you saw there with Mark [Adair] going in with five overs to go with us needing just less than 10 an over. We’ve got good options right through the side and the boys did a great job today.”

“It was very pleasing the way we came back at the Netherlands – we gave them a few more at the start than we would have liked but to see the way the boys closed out the innings was very pleasing.”

SUMMARY SCORECARD

Ireland Men v Netherlands Men, T20 International, Al Amerat Cricket Ground in Muscat, 5 October 2019

  Netherlands 167-7 (20 overs; B Cooper 65; M Adair 2-30, C Young 2-38)
  Ireland 169-4 (18.2 overs; H Tector 47*, A Balbirnie 32; S Snater 2-21)

Ireland won by 6 wickets

See full scorecard here.

 

 


INTERVIEW: Shane Getkate’s fondness for Muscat and bowling that last over at Malahide

October 4th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

INTERVIEW: Shane Getkate’s fondness for Muscat and bowling that last over at Malahide

Getkate bowling in Oman in early 2019

MUSCAT – 22 degrees. That was the temperature differential that Ireland’s Shane Getkate and his team mates are dealing with. A few days Monday Getkate a left a chilly 14-degree day in Belfast and soon after stepped off a plane into the 36-degree heat of Oman. Such is the touring life of an international cricketer, but a life that the 28-year old all-rounder says that he is enjoying immensely.

Getkate is part of the Ireland T20I squad which is playing a pentangular T20I series in Muscat. He made his international debut almost eight months to the day at the same ground in Oman and has now appeared 13 times for Ireland.

One of Ireland’s break-out players of 2019, he was recently hailed for his bowling performance at Malahide when he was asked to send down the last over in the ultimately dramatic, series-winning final T20 International against Scotland last month.

Such was the intense interest in that last over that the global viewings of the match livestream surged past 1,000,000 views, with more than 70,000 concurrent viewers watching Getkate hold his nerve and bowl the last three balls. But the attention and global exposure hasn’t phased Getkate despite his still relative newness to the senior Irish ranks. Speaking from the training ground in Muscat he said:

“The recent T20 Tri-Series in Malahide was perfect preparation before a big qualifying tournament, as it allowed everyone in the squad to get stuck into their specific roles. Winning the tournament was great as I don’t think we’ve won a T20 Series at home for a few years. While we showed great fight in all of the games, and some of the young lads really stuck their hands up, as a group we were focussed on continuing to get better game by game going into the Qualifiers.”

“It was a great experience bowling the last over and special feeling to get the win. The boys brought it back superbly with the ball to give us a sniff in the last over. I thought the games being streamed throughout the week was great for people to see across the board. That being said, as a player you know that T20 cricket is a game of small margins and it could have easily gone the other way for myself in the end.”

 


Oman holds a special place in Getkate’s career so far:

“We toured Oman back in February with the seniors before the Afghanistan series in Dehradun. I have extremely fond memories from my time in Muscat as I made my international debut against Oman in the first game. Receiving my first cap from Paul Stirling was a proud moment.”

2019 has been a big year for Getkate – starting in Sri Lanka on the Ireland Wolves tour, he will end the year being part of the World Cup Qualifier squad:

“I suppose at the start of the year I didn’t look too far ahead, but at the same time if you had said to me before Sri Lanka I would play for Ireland in both T20 and ODI cricket in the coming year, I would have bitten your hand off.”

“The Wolves trip to Sri Lanka was a tough but enjoyable one. The opposition were very strong and exactly what we needed as a group to push forward and better our skills for the year ahead. I felt pretty relaxed going into that trip after spending some time pre-Christmas in Cape Town working on my game. It was great to put in some performances in Sri Lanka and get rewarded by being included in the senior T20 squad.”

Getkate also acknowledged that the leadership and experience of his inter-provincial and T20I captain, Gary Wilson, had played a major role in his performances this year:

“I think it’s been great to have Gary [Wilson] leading the Northern Knights this season. He brings great experience and sense of calmness with his leadership as a captain. I think he gets the balance quite well with understanding what skills you can bring to the table, whilst matching that with what is needed to suit the situation or conditions on the day. Playing under his captaincy for Ireland has been no different.”

And how does he pass time on long tours like the current one?

“I’ve started to get back into golf this year - a lot of practise is needed on my game, but I feel it helps me switch off from cricket. Besides golf I like to read or head out and about and check out what the city we’re staying in has to offer.”

Getkate
Image: Getkate bowling in an ODI against Zimbabwe in July 2019


The Ireland Men’s squad has arrived in Oman where they will play four T20 Internationals. The squad will then head immediately to Abu Dhabi where they will compete in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier.

Fixtures


Ireland’s Oman fixtures

• 5 October: Ireland v Netherlands (Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat, 1.30pm*)
• 6 October: Oman v Ireland (Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat, 9.30am*)
• 7 October: Hong Kong v Ireland (Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat, 1.30pm*)
• 9 October: Ireland v Nepal (Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat, 9.30am*)

        * All start times quoted are in local Oman time.


Ireland’s Qualifier fixtures

• 14 October: Warm up match - Ireland v Netherlands (TBA)
• 15 October: Warm up match - Ireland v Scotland (TBA)
• 18 October: Ireland v Hong Kong (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 2.10pm*)
• 19 October: Ireland v UAE (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 7.30pm*)
• 21 October: Ireland v Oman (ADC 1, Abu Dhabi, 2.10pm*)
• 23 October: Ireland v Canada (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 2.10pm*)
• 25 October: Ireland v Jersey (ADC 1, Abu Dhabi, 10am*)
• 26 October: Ireland v Nigeria (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 10am*)

        * All start times quoted are in local UAE time.

Squads

The squad for the Oman series is:

Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Barry McCarthy (Leinster Lightning), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

The squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is:

Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), David Delany (Northern Knights), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).


Dates confirmed for Pakistan T20 Internationals in 2020

October 3rd 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Dates confirmed for Pakistan T20 Internationals in 2020

Ireland Men's team will take on the world's number one T20I side in July 2020

DUBLIN - Cricket Ireland has today confirmed the dates for two T20 Internationals against Pakistan to be played in Ireland next summer.

The two high-profile fixtures - on 12 and 14 July 2020 - against the world’s number one-ranked T20I side is part of Pakistan’s tour involving matches against Netherlands, Ireland and England. This will be the first time Ireland and Pakistan will play in a bilateral T20I series, and comes just over two years after Pakistan visited Ireland to play in Ireland’s first-ever Men’s Test match.

Richard Holdsworth, Performance Director at Cricket Ireland, said:

“Ireland and Pakistan have a close affinity, both across men’s and women’s cricket, and we are delighted to welcome the top-ranked T20I side to Ireland for what will be an action-packed series.”

“The two-match series will be well-timed, being just 12 weeks from the start of the T20 World Cup – a tournament that we hope to be joining Pakistan at via the Qualifier tournament later this year.”

“This year we have seen a number of great performances by Ireland and some exciting young talent emerge in the T20 squad – the way to further improve our players is to pit ourselves against the world’s-best, and in Pakistan we have that opportunity.”

“The fixtures will be part of a big home season for Ireland, where we are hosting a number of Full Member teams. It is yet another big year to look forward to in Irish cricket.”

Further details about venue, tickets, broadcast and hospitality will be announced in coming months.

Pakistan
Image: The last time the two sides met - Ireland’s first Test at Malahide in 2018


Ireland Women’s Lara Maritz selected for ICC Women’s Global Development Squad

October 3rd 2019 by Craig Easdown | International, Women

Ireland Women’s Lara Maritz selected for ICC Women’s Global Development Squad

Lara Maritz will join the WGDS on Monday

PERTH, Australia – Ireland international Lara Maritz has been selected to join the ICC Women’s Global Development Squad that will see her play against some of the world’s best women cricketers and then spend time training with the Adelaide Strikers WBBL team.

The ICC Women’s Global Development Squad (WGDS), launched in 2018, is an initiative that aims to provide the opportunity for high-performing players outside the ICC Women’s Championship to develop their skills, ensuring women’s cricket continues to go from strength to strength.

Maritz becomes the fifth Irish player to be selected in the current WGDS programme, after Gaby Lewis, Shauna Kavanagh and Lucy O’Reilly (in 2018) and Celeste Raack (in 2019).

Maritz, 18, made her international debut in 2017 and has played 34 times for Ireland. She was already planning to spend six months training and playing club cricket in Australia before she received the offer to join the WGDS for two weeks beginning next Monday.


Maritz
Image: Lara Maritz in action at Malahide

Speaking from Perth, she said:

“I moved across to Australia last month with [fellow international] Rachel Delaney and am based in Mosman Park in Perth. I’ll spend the next six months playing for South Perth Cricket Club – training with the club, doing additional sessions with our coach and I working with the WACA Strength & Conditioning Coach in the gym. It’s a fantastic set-up and will really help develop my cricket. The club has been very welcoming and made us feel at home – a particular thanks to John Brenton who has helped us settle in quickly.”

“The opportunity to join the Women’s Global Development Squad while I’m here came as a surprise initially, but I’m excited to get started with that next week. I’m looking forward to training with, and playing alongside, some great players. It will be an opportunity to see how they train, and how hard they train to become some of the best players in the world.”

“There’s also the opportunity to meet new people and make new contacts around the cricket world, which is important in our sport.”

While just three weeks in Australia so far, Maritz is already seeing the benefits of the experience:

“We’re already into some outdoor training sessions - training on turf wickets, which is amazing as we don’t really get that back home. We’re training about three times a week, including sessions on Tuesday nights with the men’s firsts team. With the ability to do extra sessions with our coach, we’re pretty much hitting balls every day which is great.”

While still disappointed that the Irish team failed to qualify for the T20 World Cup last month, Maritz remains optimistic about the international side:

“While we didn’t qualify for the World Cup - which was pretty hard to take at the time - it was a great learning curve for such a young team. The experience I believe has made us stronger as a team. While we were disappointed, it’s not the end of the world as we’re such a young team. We just have to pick ourselves up for the 50-over World Cup Qualifier in July next year.”

“We also have a great coach in Ed to work with - he has such enormous cricket experience. The girls really get along well with him, he’s very supportive and a very positive coach. He really reinforces that it’s about keeping things simple - which is great advice as you can easily over-complicate things in cricket.”

“One of the main aims I’ve set myself while here in Australia is to work towards becoming a true all-rounder. That means working hard on my batting over the coming months - I want to show Ed what I’m made of with the bat when I get back home in April.”


WGDS
Image: Gaby Lewis playing for the WGDS in 2018

Maritz will fly to Melbourne on Monday and join up with her new WGDS team mates. Maritz will then fly to Adelaide to join the Adelaide Strikers to train and be part of the match day squad for the opening round matches of the WBBL. After her fortnight with the WGDS, she will resume her training and playing with South Perth before returning to Ireland in April next year.

WGDS squad

Bismah Maroof (captain, Pakistan), Rumana Ahmed, Nigar Sultana Joty (Bangladesh), Ni Made Putri Suwandewi (Indonesia), Lara Martiz (Ireland), Hannah Rowe (New Zealand), Kaia Arua, Tanya Ruma (Papua New Guinea), Katie McGill, Sarah Bryce (Scotland), Sornnarin Tippoch, Suleeporn Laomi, Naruemol Chaiwai (Thailand), Sean Trouw (Head Coach – Netherlands), Peter Ross (Assistant Coach - Scotland)

The squad will start with a team-building and training session before playing six T20s in Melbourne and Hobart:

Fixtures

Melbourne fixtures
• 9 October: WGDS v Melbourne Renegades/Melbourne Stars Combined XI
• 10 October: WGDS v Strikers; WGDS v Melbourne Renegades/Melbourne Stars Combined XI
• 11 October: WGDS v Adelaide Strikers

Hobart fixtures
• 13 October: WGDS v Hobart Hurricanes/Tasmanian Tigers Combined XI
• 14 October: WGDS v Hobart Hurricanes/Tasmanian Tigers Combined XI

Read more about the WGDS here.

 

 


INTERVIEW: Gareth Delany on opening, being new to touring life and a whirlwind 2019

October 2nd 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

INTERVIEW: Gareth Delany on opening, being new to touring life and a whirlwind 2019

Delany on debut against Zimbabwe

MUSCAT – Recently-capped international Gareth Delany – on his first senior tour with the national side – was speaking about his year and his expectations ahead of the five-nation T20 International tournament to be played at the Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat starting on Saturday.

Dublin-born Delany, 22, made his international debut in July this year. He was part of the trophy-winning Leinster Lightning side that won two titles in 2019, and plays his club cricket with Leinster Cricket Club in Rathmines.

Delany has developed a reputation for versatility - a big-hitting top-order batter and wicket-taking leg-spinner, his skills were on full display against Scotland last month when he claimed 2-31 and hit his maiden international half-century in only his third international appearance.

Speaking from his hotel in Muscat, Delany said:

“I’ve never been to the Middle East before, so I’m excited to see what it’s like. Coming straight from autumn in Dublin, the heat hit us straight away when we walked off the plane, so it will take a few days to acclimatise.”

“The guys who have been here before say that the decks are pretty good for batting, but also take a bit of turn so that’s good to hear.”

Looking back over 2019, he said:

“To be honest, I didn’t think back in January that I’d be where I am now. The Sri Lanka trip with the Ireland Wolves in January was an amazing opportunity and challenge. Personally I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but it gave me an idea of what was required to play at that level and gave me more motivation to be better and develop further. I was probably hoping or targeting next year as maybe a time to be involved internationally, but things have worked out nicely over the last 9 months, so I’m just hoping that things continue to go well.”


Delany
Image: Delany on his way to a maiden international half-century


Last month, he featured highly in the T20I series-winning team at Malahide:

“It was great to be able to win the Tri-Series, and especially against some of our nearest rivals [Scotland and Netherlands]. We played three tough matches which will probably reflect the types of games that will be coming up, so to be able to get that little bit more experience at this level was great. We played really well, but there are obviously a few things that we can improve on - so that’s also very positive, that we can still get better as a group.”

“Personally, I learnt a lot from that series. I need to be more clinical in executing my skills, whether that’s getting out of an over that hasn’t gone for many with the ball, or recognising what the bowler is trying to do and not to play to his plan while batting.”

Asked about his development as an all-rounder, he said:

“The last couple of seasons I’ve opened for the Leinster Lightning and I’ve really enjoyed it. Facing a brand new ball at the top of the order allows you to be very positive in T20 cricket. Fortunately I’ve had a number of captains that have encouraged me to bat with freedom and take the odd risk to score quickly.”

“With the leg spin, I’ve been bowling that since under-13s level. A couple of coaches suggested it to me at the time as we had a lot of pace bowlers and I obviously wasn’t one of the better ones! So they started teaching me how to bowl leg spin, and I bowled well that season so decided to stick with it.”


Delany
Image: Delany’s first international wicket was a caught and bowled


Touring life is still new to Delany, so how will he pass the time between playing and training?

“I’m still new to being away for a trip of this length, so I’ve brought a couple of books with me. I also enjoy reading the paper or following up on what’s going back on at home. I made sure to download a couple of Netflix series as well. It will be nice to have a look around as well, especially looking forward to seeing Abu Dhabi and Dubai and what they have to offer.”

The Ireland Men’s squad has arrived in Oman where they will play four T20 Internationals. The squad will then head immediately to Abu Dhabi where they will compete in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier.

A livestream of the Oman fixtures will be available (details TBC).

The fixtures are:

Ireland’s Oman fixtures

• 5 October: Ireland v Netherlands (Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat, 1.30pm*)
• 6 October: Oman v Ireland (Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat, 9.30am*)
• 7 October: Hong Kong v Ireland (Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat, 1.30pm*)
• 9 October: Ireland v Nepal (Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat, 9.30am*)

        * All start times quoted are in local Oman time.


Ireland’s Qualifier fixtures

• 14 October: Warm up match v Netherlands (time TBA)
• 15 October: Warm up match v Scotland (time TBA)
• 18 October: Ireland v Hong Kong (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 2.10pm*)
• 19 October: Ireland v UAE (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 7.30pm*)
• 21 October: Ireland v Oman (ADC 1, Abu Dhabi, 2.10pm*)
• 23 October: Ireland v Canada (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 2.10pm*)
• 25 October: Ireland v Jersey (ADC 1, Abu Dhabi, 10am*)
• 26 October: Ireland v Nigeria (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 10am*)

        * All start times quoted are in local UAE time.

SQUADS

The squad for the Oman series is:

• Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Barry McCarthy (Leinster Lightning), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

The squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is:

• Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), David Delany (Northern Knights), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

 

 


Head Coach Graham Ford on preparations for Oman and the World Cup Qualifier

October 1st 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Head Coach Graham Ford on preparations for Oman and the World Cup Qualifier

Graham Ford is happy with preparations

MUSCAT – Ireland Men’s Head Coach Graham Ford arrived in Oman overnight and was speaking ahead of the five-nation T20 International tournament to be played at the Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat starting on Saturday.

Ford, who just signed a contract extension with Cricket Ireland, was upbeat about the preparations of the Irish squad:

“The recent T20 Tri-Series was without doubt very important preparation time for all three nations involved. We have had a very wet provincial summer with much game time being lost, so we really needed to get some good competitive cricket under the belt.”

“The Tri-Series was also an ideal opportunity to give some of the newer, less experienced lads a chance to fill important roles. In general, there were pleasing aspects in all three departments of our cricket – batting, bowling and fielding, and we will use our time well in Oman to ensure further improvement.”

“What was additionally important was the five-day training camp we had before the Tri-Series. It was a productive and intensive time with players getting good opportunities to test their skills under pressure. Importantly, all the lads got a chance to really focus on T20 cricket with plenty of ideas and thoughts on how best to adapt to some of the testing situations that develop in T20 matches.”

“As a coach, the last month has been really pleasing - seeing the energy and work ethic amongst the lads. We now have a few young exciting cricketers within the group. It has been good to see how they have handled the various pressures, and they certainly contribute to a sharper fielding unit.”


Graham Ford
Image: Graham Ford on the training pitch

Many Irish cricket fans have been enthused by the emergence of young talent within the squad, but Ford was keen to point out that a balance of youth and experience is the key to a successful side:

“I have always felt that when exposing young players to the challenges and pressures of a higher level of cricket, it is vital to have some older, experienced heads around them - and I feel the captain [Gary Wilson] and his senior lieutenants have done an outstanding job in building up and supporting the younger lads.”

“T20 is such a fast moving game, situations change rapidly and more often than not it is the team that adapts the best by making very quick, smart and clear plans that ends up victorious. It is comforting to know that we have a hugely experienced and knowledgeable player leadership group headed by Gary who through his years of County cricket has gained much recognition for his player management and knowledge of the game.”

“It sounds a cliché, but we are on a journey as a team – a lot of work has been done over the last two years, but we haven’t finished yet. The work we are putting in as a squad ahead of the T20 World Cup Qualifier has been crucial in giving ourselves the best opportunity to progress to the main tournament in Australia next year.”


The Ireland Men’s squad has arrived in Oman where they will play four T20 Internationals. The squad will then head immediately to Abu Dhabi where they will compete in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier.

The fixtures are:

Ireland’s Oman fixtures

• 5 October: Ireland v Netherlands (Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat, 1.30pm*)
• 6 October: Oman v Ireland (Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat, 9.30am*)
• 7 October: Hong Kong v Ireland (Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat, 1.30pm*)
• 9 October: Ireland v Nepal (Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat, 9.30am*)

        * All start times quoted are in local Oman time.


Ireland’s Qualifier fixtures

• 14 October: Warm up match - Ireland v Netherlands (TBA)
• 15 October: Warm up match - Ireland v Scotland (TBA)
• 18 October: Ireland v Hong Kong (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 2.10pm*)
• 19 October: Ireland v UAE (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 7.30pm*)
• 21 October: Ireland v Oman (ADC 1, Abu Dhabi, 2.10pm*)
• 23 October: Ireland v Canada (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 2.10pm*)
• 25 October: Ireland v Jersey (ADC 1, Abu Dhabi, 10am*)
• 26 October: Ireland v Nigeria (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 10am*)

        * All start times quoted are in local UAE time.

Squads

The squad for the Oman series is:

Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Barry McCarthy (Leinster Lightning), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

The squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is:

Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), David Delany (Northern Knights), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).


Dates and venues announced for Ireland Men’s Caribbean tour in January 2020

September 30th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Dates and venues announced for Ireland Men’s Caribbean tour in January 2020

DUBLIN – Cricket West Indies has today announced the fixture dates and venues for the six-match white-ball series between Ireland and the West Indies in in Barbados, Grenada and St. Kitts in January 2020.

This will be the first time Ireland and the West Indies have played in a full three-match series in both ODIs and T20Is. The two sides met in two ODIs in Ireland in May this year as part of an ODI Tri-Series, with the West Indies prevailing in both encounters.

The upcoming tour to the Caribbean will start with two day/night ODIs on Tuesday 7 and Thursday 9 January at Kensington Oval, Barbados, before concluding with a day game at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada on Sunday 12 January.

Grenada then hosts the first T20I on Wednesday 12 January before the teams fly to St. Kitts with back-to-back day/night T20Is to conclude the series on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 January. 

For travelling fans, ticket prices and sales will be announced shortly, with Cricket West Indies arranging travel package options that will be released in coming weeks.

Broadcast details will be confirmed closer to the tour.


Andy Balbirnie

FIXTURE SCHEDULE


Saturday 4 January 2020
Warm-up match (Three Ws Oval, Barbados)

Tuesday 7 January 2020
1st Colonial Medical Insurance One-day International (Kensington Oval, Barbados, 1.00pm (Day/Night))

Thursday 9 January 2020
2nd Colonial Medical Insurance One-day International (Kensington Oval, Barbados, 1.00pm (Day/Night))

Sunday 12 January 2020
3rd Colonial Medical Insurance One-day International (National Cricket Stadium, Grenada, 9.30am)

Wednesday 15 January 2020
1st Twenty20 International (National Cricket Stadium, Grenada, 1pm)

Saturday 18 January 2020
2nd Twenty20 International (Warner Park, St. Kitts, 6.00pm)

Sunday 19 January 2020
3rd Twenty20 International (Warner Park, St. Kitts, 6.00pm)

  *All times are local times


The search for raw bowling talent is on across Ireland

September 30th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International, Coaching

The search for raw bowling talent is on across Ireland

We're looking for new bowling talent

DUBLIN – Cricket Ireland has released details of six bowling sessions aimed to uncover raw bowling talent, inviting boys and girls between 13 and 18 years of age to register their interest in attending and showing their bowling skills in front of national talent pathway coaches.

Over the last decade Cricket Ireland has been investing in the development and continual improvement of its talent pathway and performance systems across Ireland. In 2013 the relaunched men’s Test Triangle Inter-Provincial Series provided impetus for the men’s side of the game, while the launch of the Toyota Super 3s Series did the same for women. In 2014 the Shapoorji Pallonji Cricket Ireland Academy was established and in 2018 a restructure in the national youth pathway saw new roles created, one of which was the National Talent Pathway Manager & Coach.

The 39-year old former Ireland international, Albert van der Merwe was appointed to the role in April 2019. Van der Merwe had played 21 times for Ireland between 2010 and 2012. A right-arm off-spinner, he claimed 40 wickets at an average of 22.55, with a best of 6-27 against Kenya in 2012. After finishing his international career, he continued playing at club level and developing his coaching career, being appointed Head Coach of Leinster Lightning in 2016, leading a squad that has won five titles and cups during his tenure.

Since his appointment, van der Merwe has been busy in refining and further developing the structures needed to ensure a pipeline of talent is fed into the national system for future years, as well as supporting the work of the Academy and taking several national youth sides away on tours.


vdm
Image: Albert van der Merwe in action for Ireland in 2010 (credit: Inpho Photography)


Van der Merwe said:

“It’s been an incredibly busy year, but no busier than I imagined coming into the role. There is so much that happens behind-the-scenes that fans of the game never see or appreciate at times. Talent identification and development is a long-term proposition, and to have a dedicated Manager in the role is enormously beneficial to the sport as a whole.”

“While we have robust talent identification processes in place, and great coaches to guide and work with the players in each Provincial Union, kids develop at different rates – some players show flashes of raw talent early, while others take time to find their game. Just take George Dockrell, for example – he was a young tearaway pace bowler when he started out, and it just took a good coach with an eye for talent to see his potential as a spinner. This has led him to a decade in the national team so far.”

“No matter how good a system is though, there is always the potential for some players to slip through the net. So during the month of October, we will be running six separate sessions in three locations across Ireland searching for young players that could become Ireland’s next generation of bowlers. We’re looking for fast bowlers, slow bowlers, bowlers who swing it or bowlers who spin it. Players in Leinster, Northern and North West provincial unions will be able to attend local sessions, while players from other parts of the country will be encouraged to register at their nearest session.”

BOWLING SESSIONS

 
NCU Fast Bowling Session - 11 October, 6pm-9pm, University of Ulster, Jordanstown
CL/MCU Fast Bowling - 13 October, 9am-12pm, North County CC
NCU Spin Bowling - 18 October, 6pm-9pm, University of Ulster, Jordanstown
CL/MCU Spin Bowling - 20 October, 9am-12pm, North County CC
NWCU Fast Bowling - 25 October, 6pm-9pm, Bready CC
NWCU Spin Bowling - 1 November, 6pm-9pm, Bready CC

REGISTRATION

An online registration system has been established at: http://bit.ly/OpenSkillsSessions.

 

Bowling

 


Irish umpire Roland Black to officiate at ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier

September 26th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International, Other

Irish umpire Roland Black to officiate at ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier

Roland Black in action

DUBLIN – Irish umpire Roland Black has been appointed to the umpiring panel for next month’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in the UAE.

The Qualifier tournament begins on 18 October, with the Final on 2 November. Matches will be played in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Black, who has been umpiring since 2006, was earlier this year awarded one of four full-time season contracts as part of a restructure of the Cricket Ireland Umpire Panels – the first time such contracts had been offered. He was approached by the ICC via Cricket Ireland in late August while in Scotland umpiring the opening series of the Cricket World Cup League 2.

Black said:

“I feel privileged and fortunate to have been given the opportunity to officiate at the Qualifiers. While I leave for the UAE on the 7 October, there is plenty of preparation ahead of the tournament, including workshops, venue inspections, various meetings and practise matches. These involve working with fellow umpires, match referees and umpire coaches to ensure that everyone will be fully prepared and ready to go when the Qualifiers start.”

“It’s a great experience to be part of a tournament like this. Having the opportunity to work on specific parts of my umpiring routines and techniques over a prolonged period will be beneficial, as is being challenged and tested in various ways in a competitive international match environment. I am hoping that what I learn from the experience I can bring back and share with my Irish colleagues to help improve officiating in Ireland.”

Remarking on this opportunity that has opened up, he said:

“With Cricket Ireland’s inclusion in the Future Tours Programme, it has started to open up new opportunities for Irish umpires on the international panel. If I can give it a plug, there’s never been a better time for people to join the umpiring ranks. It’s demanding and there is a lot of hard work behind-the-scenes that no one sees, but if you have the right attitude, perseverance and work ethic the sky is the limit.”

“Like anything in life, with umpiring you have the good days and the difficult days, but the more you put into your umpiring the more that you get back out. I enjoy the challenges that the game of cricket can throw at you and having the courage and strength when it doesn’t go well to put yourself back out there and to learn from your mistakes. Umpiring gives you the best seat in the house and I have been fortunate enough to meet and work with many very good cricketing people.”


FIXTURES


The full fixture list for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is here.

Ireland’s Qualifier fixtures are as follows:

• 14-15 October: Warm up matches (TBA)
• 18 October: Ireland v Hong Kong (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 2.10pm*)
• 19 October: Ireland v UAE (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 7.30pm*)
• 21 October: Ireland v Oman (ADC 1, Abu Dhabi, 2.10pm*)
• 23 October: Ireland v Canada (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 2.10pm*)
• 25 October: Ireland v Jersey (ADC 1, Abu Dhabi, 10am*)
• 26 October: Ireland v Nigeria (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 10am*)

        * All start times quoted are in local UAE time.


Squad announced for Oman Series and ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier

September 26th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Squad announced for Oman Series and ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier

The squad will depart on 30 September for Oman

DUBLIN – Cricket Ireland has today announced squads for the upcoming T20 International Series in Oman and the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in the UAE next month.

Selectors were pleased with the performance of the Ireland T20I squad in winning the recent GS Holding T20I Tri-Series, and have largely maintained the squad for the October fixtures.

Simi Singh is retained in the squad after Jacob Mulder was forced to withdraw fully with an injury. The only change for the Oman leg is that David Delany steps out as he is unavailable due to his university study programme, and Barry McCarthy comes in as cover.



The squad for the Oman series is:

Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Barry McCarthy (Leinster Lightning), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).

The squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is:

Gary Wilson (Northern Knights) (Captain), Mark Adair (Northern Knights), Andrew Balbirnie (Leinster Lightning), David Delany (Northern Knights), Gareth Delany (Leinster Lightning), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Shane Getkate (Northern Knights), Kevin O’Brien (Leinster Lightning), Boyd Rankin (North West Warriors), Simi Singh (Leinster Lightning), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Harry Tector (Northern Knights), Stuart Thompson (North West Warriors), Lorcan Tucker (Leinster Lightning), Craig Young (North West Warriors).


Gary Wilson
Image: Captain Gary Wilson in action against Zimbabwe earlier this year


Andrew White, Chair of National Men’s Selectors, said:

“The T20 International squad gelled quickly during that last series, and the character the players displayed was admirable. They showed the fighting spirit that Irish teams have been renowned for, so it is great to see that coming through particularly in the newer members of the squad. It’s a real indication of great leadership within the group, and the experience that Gary [Wilson] brings to this side. Quite often those characteristics are underappreciated, but are vital to a side that is in transition – and have been pivotal to our improvement in this format of the game.”

“After his impressive debut, we would have obviously preferred to have had David Delany available for Oman as well as the Qualifier, however David is in the final year of his university studies and we have had to balance his studying and playing as best we can. There have been ongoing discussions with David’s university, who have supported his leave from studies that will see him available in the UAE.”

“It also goes without saying that [Head Coach] Graham Ford’s recent contract extension is a vote of confidence in the direction Irish cricket is heading. We look forward to working with Fordie in the coming years to continue the great platform he has helped lay for the next generation.”


UPCOMING FIXTURES


The Ireland Men’s squad departs on 30 September for Oman where they will play four T20 Internationals. The squad will then head immediately to Abu Dhabi where they will compete in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier. The fixtures are:

Ireland’s Oman fixtures

• 5 October: Ireland v Netherlands (Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat, 1.30pm*)
• 6 October: Oman v Ireland (Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat, 9.30am*)
• 7 October: Hong Kong v Ireland (Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat, 1.30pm*)
• 9 October: Ireland v Nepal (Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in Muscat, 9.30am*)

        * All start times quoted are in local Oman time.


Ireland’s Qualifier fixtures

• 14 October: Warm up match - Ireland v Netherlands (TBA)
• 15 October: Warm up match - Ireland v Scotland (TBA)
• 18 October: Ireland v Hong Kong (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 2.10pm*)
• 19 October: Ireland v UAE (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 7.30pm*)
• 21 October: Ireland v Oman (ADC 1, Abu Dhabi, 2.10pm*)
• 23 October: Ireland v Canada (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 2.10pm*)
• 25 October: Ireland v Jersey (ADC 1, Abu Dhabi, 10am*)
• 26 October: Ireland v Nigeria (Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, 10am*)

        * All start times quoted are in local UAE time.



Cricket used to bridge cultural and community divides in Northern Ireland

September 25th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International, Coaching, Youth

Cricket used to bridge cultural and community divides in Northern Ireland

Harry Tector, Paul Stirling and Boyd Rankin meet the CIYMS boys at Malahide

BELFAST, DUBLIN – A new cross community sport-based social initiative with Belfast City Council called ‘On the Right Track’, which attracted European Union funding, has used cricket as a vehicle for promoting inclusiveness and bridge cultural divides for a group of boys in Belfast.

The programme, which operates using Peace IV Funding and ran in partnership with Belfast City Council, saw 20 boys from CIYMS Cricket Club’s Under-13s team travel to Dublin. They participated in a cross community cricket coaching session and watched the Ireland Men’s team take on Scotland in the recent GS Holding T20I Tri-Series.

The boys also had the opportunity to meet some of their on-field heroes, including Paul Stirling, Boyd Rankin and Harry Tector – obtaining autographs and taking selfies with the international players.

Peter Topping, Youth Convenor for CIYMS, said:

“We brought the CIYMS Under-13s team down to Dublin as part of a project called On the Right Track. It’s a Peace and Reconciliation project in partnership with Belfast City Council and Peace IV funding. It aims to teach young players to be more inclusive across different communities and cultures, building a greater understand and tolerance of others”

“The programme allows us to use sport to bring young players together and open up opportunities for discussion around equality, racism, sectarianism, religion, culture and social background to promote peace building in Belfast. It’s about using the vehicle of sport to help bridge those gaps and bring people together.”

CIYMS
Image: Michael Hingston from Malahide Cricket Club leads the coaching session


“We’re the first cricket club in Ireland to be involved in this project. We gave the young players an opportunity to participate in a cross community coaching session with Malahide Cricket Club and watch the match between Ireland and Scotland as they have now finished their involvement in this project”,

“On the Right Track looks at using a range of sports – such as cricket, boxing and football – to bring young people from across different communities so that they can get a better understanding of how they can work together, to make friendships, and share stories. This year we’ve been partnered with a school in East Belfast called Our Lady & St Patrick’s College. We’ve also been able to engage Irish international James Cameron-Dow to run coaching sessions for us in the school. There have been so many benefits from our involvement as a club - it’s allowed us to gain funding support, increased our access to coaching hours for player development/membership, and purchase necessary cricket equipment to run the project. The young players have been able to improve their self awareness, understanding and tolerance of others and build new friendships with players from different communities.”


The CIYMS Cricket Club is looking forward to ongoing opportunities to engage with the programme and hope that their example may lead other clubs and sporting bodies to get involved in social inclusion initiatives across Northern Ireland.

 


Ireland in dramatic 1-run last-ball win over Scotland to claim GS Holding T20I Tri-Series

September 20th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Ireland in dramatic 1-run last-ball win over Scotland to claim GS Holding T20I Tri-Series

Ireland won a dramatic last-ball one-run encounter against Scotland

DUBLIN – Ireland Men’s cricket team has held its nerve and claimed victory by the slimmest of margins over Scotland, winning the GS Holding T20I Tri-Series at Malahide Cricket Club today.

Scottish stand-in captain Richie Berrington won the toss and chose to bowl first. Ireland’s opening pair of Gareth Delany (25 from 10 balls) and Kevin O’Brien (63 from 45 balls) got the home side off to a flyer. The pair put on 47 in 22 balls, before Delany holed out looking for his third six.

Andy Balbirnie (20 from 10 balls) and captain Gary Wilson (31 from 25 balls) continued to pile the runs on, but then a rash of wickets in the late overs stemmed the scoring rate and Ireland ended on 186-9 from their 20 overs.


In response, Scotland lost in-form batter George Munsey early for 6 and Michael Leask for 7, but then Matthew Cross (66 from 55 balls) and Richie Berrington (76 from 43 balls) came together and put on a 122-run third-wicket stand. The Scots threatened to chase down the Irish score with ease until Craig Young (1-29) returned to the attack and removed Berrington to a good outfield catch by Lorcan Tucker.

Further wickets fell until it came down to the final over. Shane Getkate was given the task of navigating the last six balls, Scotland needing 15 runs for victory. The first five balls went for 12 runs, leaving Craig Wallace on strike needing three to win, or two runs to tie the score and force a Super Over.

Getkate bowled full and Wallace squeezed it to point, the batters scrambled for one and then turned for a must-run second. The Irish fielders remained calm and ran Wallace out by five metres – Ireland winning the Series from the last ball by 1 run.

Player of the Series was announced as George Munsey for his batting heroics during the series, including a century against Netherlands.

SUMMARY SCORECARD

Ireland Men v Scotland Men, T20 International, Malahide Cricket Club, 20 September 2019

  Ireland 186-9 (20 overs; K O’Brien 63, G Wilson 31; T Sole 2-26)
  Scotland 185-6 (20 overs; R Berrington 76, M Cross 66*; M Adair 2-30)

Ireland won by 1 run

See full scorecard here.

 


Scotland beat Netherlands to set up winner-takes-all finale against Ireland

September 19th 2019 by Craig Easdown | International

Scotland beat Netherlands to set up winner-takes-all finale against Ireland

The Scots cruised to victory today, setting up a tense decider tomorrow

DUBLIN – A disciplined bowling performance led Scotland to a comfortable victory over the Netherlands in the GS Holding T20I Tri-Series at Malahide Cricket Club today – setting up tomorrow’s final match as effectively a Grand Final decider against Ireland.

Dutch captain Pietar Sielaar won the toss and elected to bat first. Despite a sprightly opening stand of 30 from 18 balls by Tobias Visee and Max O’Dowd, Netherlands lost 5-26 from the next four overs and well and truly on the back foot.

Debutant Vikram Singh briefly flared, hitting 15 from 13 balls, and Bas de Leede managed a neat 30 from 36 balls, but the Scottish bowlers were always on top of the encounter and the Dutch side lost their final wicket from the last ball – all out for 123. Off-spinner Hamza Tahir finished with T20I career-best figures of 4-30.

 

In response, Scotland were confident in the task. Despite losing skipper Kyle Coetzer early for 5, the Scottish batters cruised to victory with more than 6 overs to spare. Richie Berrington hit 27* from 19 balls and opener George Munsey hit 27 from 23 balls, that included two big sixes, as the Scots claimed victory losing just four wickets along the way.

The last match in the GS Holding T20I Tri-Series is between Ireland and Scotland tomorrow at 1.30pm, with free entry to all fans and a livestream broadcast available via Cricket Ireland’s Youtube channel. With Scotland just two points ahead of Ireland on the table, tomorrow’s match becomes a winner-takes-all encounter.

More information on the GS Holding T20I Tri-Series here.

SUMMARY SCORECARD

Scotland Men v Netherlands Men, T20 International, Malahide Cricket Club, 19 September 2019

  Netherlands 123 (20 overs; B de Leede 30; H Tahir 4-30)
  Scotland 126-4 (13.2 overs; R Berrington 27*, G Munsey 27)

Scotland won by 6 wickets

See full scorecard here.

 

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