Day 7: Round-up of the last day's play

Fri, Sep 7, 2007 3:29 PM

The European U-15 2nd Division Championships finished yesterday as three play-off matches and the tournament's final brought a fitting end to an entertaining week's cricket.

In the 7th/8th place play-off, Germany caused something of an upset by overturning Cyprus by 19 runs.

Electing to field, the Cypriots will agonize over the number of the number of extras conceded, the difference between their count and the Germans being more than the eventual margin of defeat.

The German batsmen did, however, make some considerable contributions to their total of 205-9, with Jaskaran Singh scoring 29 and captain Mansoor Mubarik setting an early example with a quickfire 24 off 19 balls.

Both Harry Callaway and David Bailey picked up a couple of wickets, but George Paponisiforou was the most impressive Cypriot bowler, the left-armer going for not much more than three an over throughout his spell.

In reply for Cyprus, Bailey, Michael Hill and William Carr all managed to break 20, but, unfortunately for them, Mubarik (2-28), Manishi Mathur (2-33) and Ritvik Marwaha (2-30) took wickets so regularly that the last wicket stand of 38 between Carr and William Erhartsmann was the highest of the innings.

As Germany saw off Cyprus, Belgium comfortably chased down Italy's total of 109, winning by six wickets on the bottom pitch at the La Manga club.

That Italy managed to make 109 was an achievement, having been reduced to 49-6 by the excellent Naman Parikh (4-21) and Shaival Mehta, who would finish with figures of 3-13.

Giorgio Scalco, Abdur Rahman Bhuiyan and Fahran Akbar all fell for single figures, the first two cleaned bowled, so it was left to Italian captain Ali Shakeel to bring his side past the 100 mark with a resolute, undefeated 29 and the support of partners William Rudgard and Peret Jakub.

Extras again proved the bane of the conquered, and this was the only disappointing aspect of an otherwise proficient bowling performance. One could possibly contest that 109 would have been a defendable score had all the Italians bowled as straight as Shakeel (7-2-17-2, including the key wicket of Jay Savani) and Chanuka Welarathna (5-3-9-2), but a stubborn 20 from Shaival Mehta blunted the Italian attack and set up his side's win.

The key to the Belgians' victory was unquestionably the length of time spent at the crease by their batsmen (Mehta and Jay Savani's knocks both lasted more than an hour) for, as the adage goes, you can't score runs in the pavilion!

3rd and 4th places were then decided in the afternoon as Isle of Man took on Spain, with the former running out winners by seven wickets with more than six overs to go in pursuit of Spain's 137.

From the precarious position of 19-3, Spain were rescued by a marathon stand of 108 between Jimmy Cobb and Matt Smith that ended only when Cobb was caught by Jamie Johnstone off Andrew Brown for 25.

Smith then brought up his fifty (one four, two sixes) off the penultimate delivery of the Spanish innings, but his fine knock proved to be in vain, as Isle of Man cruised home, led by Richard Foden's 44*.

Ben Girling (2-13) may well have cleaned up Alex Stokoe for a duck in the first over, but an even more impressive partnership of 129 developed between Foden and Jack Rowlands and it took Isle of Man to the brink of victory.

Rowlands eventually fell for 24, and Daniel Hawke soon followed, but in spite of innumerable cries of “Vamos, Espana!" from Cobb, keeping wicket for the first time in this match, Isle of Man progressed comfortably to victory and third place in the tournament.

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