18 January 2010

Ireland lost their second game in Group B of the Under 19 World Cup in New Zealand to a very commanding Australia side, the margin of defeat a huge 209 runs.

The scoreboard doesn’t do Ireland justice, as in the initial stages they were very competitive. Indeed fine spells of bowling from Jordan Coghlan, and spinner George Dockrell saw Australia reduced to 114 for 4. Indeed that should have been 115 for 5 one ball later, as a fumbled return by Dockrell allowed Tim Armstrong to scramble home.

Armstrong made the most of that reprieve, and together with the impressive Alex Keath, they proceeded to take the game away from Ireland.

They more than doubled the score, adding 115 in 22.2 overs, with some lovely strokes and particularly aggressive running between the wickets.

Keath top scored with 88 from 111 balls, striking six boundaries, while Armstrong finished on an unbeaten 73 from 77 deliveries (5 fours, 2 sixes). One of those maximums from Armstrong saw Stuart Thompson take a spellbinding catch on the boundary, but alas he couldn’t stay inside the ropes, and the agony continued for a tiring Ireland side in sweltering conditions.

The opening partnership for Australia of Tom Beaton and Nic Maddison saw them add 52 in 9.4 overs, before Jordan Coghlan, who replaced Shane Getkate in the starting line up, bowled Maddinson for 14.

Tom Beaton scored his second consecutive half century in the competition, but the theory that he prefers pace to spin was given further weight, when he was dismissed by Dockrell’s first delivery of the game, stumped advancing down the track.

Dockrell struck again with the first delivery of his second over, taking the prize wicket of Aussie captain Mitchell Marsh, caught at short midwicket by Andy Balbirnie.

Jason Floros (17), added 38 with Keath, before a direct hit by Graham McDonnell saw him inches short of his ground and the Irish were jubilant.

That was to be the last time Ireland were ever in the game, as the Ketah/Armstrong stand completely deflated them, and with 45 coming in the last four overs, a final Australia total of 274 for 5 was always going to be more than enough. Kane Richardson hitting a breezy 24 not out in 14 balls.

Coghlan conceded 40 runs in his last four overs, which spoilt somewhat his fine opening spell of 1-22 in 6 overs. Indeed the tall Clontarf youngster’s display in the early part of the game impressed former Australian great Greg Chappell.

Dockrell (2-38), and Coghlan (2-62) were the Irish wicket takers – one positive note on the bowling was the concession of just 5 extras in the entire innings.

Due to the speed with which they got through their 50 overs, Ireland were faced with a tricky 30 minute period before lunch, and in that time, they were dealt two crushing blows.

First Andy Balbirnie (7) was trapped lbw by Kane Richardson, and the next delivery saw Paul Stirling chop on and Ireland were reeling at 8 for 2. They negotiated the rest of the session, to finish on 25 for 2 at the interval.

The mini recovery continued after lunch, advancing to 40 for 2, before the introduction of Nick Buchanan. The pace man turned in a display his father would have been proud of, as he tore apart the Irish middle order, taking 4 for 16.

Stuart Thompson (19) and Ben Ackland (11), were the only players to reach double figures, as they were dismissed for 65 in 24.2 overs.

In addition to Buchanan, the other successful Australian bowlers were Richardson (3-25), Armstrong (2-6), and Doran (1-6).

Ireland will have to pick themselves up now before their next encounter, which is against The USA on Tuesday. James Shannon faces a race against time to be fit for that game, after injuring his ankle during training yesterday.

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