13 August 2007

Ireland's domination of European youth tournaments continued as they captured the Under 13 title in Denmark last week

It was anything but straightforward as they edged home against Scotland in a thrilling contest by the narrowest of margins - just one wicket in the final decider.
They had opened the competition with a convincing 7 wicket win over The Netherlands. A fine bowling performance from Ross Adair and George Mc Kinley, who each picked up 3 wickets saw the Dutch dismissed for just 104. Tyrone Kane and Jordan Magee also got among the wickets.
That total proved little obstacle to Ireland as they lost just the three wickets - David Barr top scored with a fine 50, while wicket-keeper Matthew Clarke made a well composed 20.
In the next game determined batting from Denmark saw them post a respectable 154 for 6 in their 40 overs. Saad Ahmed (45) and Basit Javed (38) were their top scorers - for Ireland Ross Adair was again their main performer with the ball, taking 3 for 31.
A super batting display from skipper Ben Wylie saw another 7 wicket win secured. He stroked a chanceless 71 not out, and with David Barr making 23, the result was never in doubt.
The deciding fixture with Scotland seemed to be going to plan when 4 wickets from George Mc Kinley and two from Andrew Fleming reduced the Scots to 80 for 7. A fine rearguard action from Johnny Perrium (31), and Nicky Farrar (27), saw them score 141 for 9.
In reply Ireland were well placed at 60 for 1, but 4 wickets from Andrew Umeed reduced them to 132 for 9. The nervous last pair of George Adair and George Mc Kinley got the Irish over the finishing line much to their obvious delight. The Scots will rue the concession of 41 extras - 38 of which were wides, which proved the decisive factor in the outcome.
Irish Cricket Union President Tom Prior paid tribute to the squad saying, "I'd like to congratulate the entire squad and support staff on another fantastic achievement. To win the title for an 8th consecutive year is a truly remarkable feat."
Manager Ian Rutledge was clearly delighted with the effort shown by the squad, "It was a super team effort with all the squad contributing. I thought Ben Wylie marshalled the side very well. Our bowling was exemplary, and everyone bowled an excellent line and length. The Scotland game was very exciting, more than I would have liked! We held our nerve in a pressure situation, and deservedly won the trophy.
I'd like to give a special mention to the 'MAGS' - Mothers and Grannies, who gave the side wonderful support."
Ireland have a chance to complete a second consecutive clean sweep of the European Championships, having won all six tournaments last season, and having won four of the five so far in 2007. The Under 17's are currently in action in Dundee, where they play Scotland in the final fixture on Sunday and Monday in a 2 day fixture.

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