Day 5: Round-up

Thu, Aug 30, 2007 4:26 PM

Day five at La Manga brought the group stages of the European U-15 2nd Division Championship to a climax, with the big match of the day taking place in the afternoon, when Spain and Guernsey met in a match whose winner would reach tomorrow's final.

In the morning, Italy's Abdur Rahman Bhuiyan became the first man to record two half-centuries in the tournament as he bludgeoned his way to 56 (eight fours, two sixes) against Isle of Man, taking full advantage of at least four reprieves.

These were over a dozen catches dropped in all by the Isle of Man fielders, but completely exempt from criticism was the performance of Alex Stokoe, whose figures of 4-19 were outstanding, given the Italian total of 177-6.

That Italy managed what they did was chiefly due to Giorgio Scalco's late onslaught, the Italian no. 5 ending the innings unbeaten on 62 (four fours) and carrying on where Rahman had left off.

But if it was Stokoe who starred with the ball for Isle of Man, then it was Richard Foden with the bat. Opening the innings, he confidently batted through for 67* (at almost a run a ball), guiding his team to a comfortable six-wicket win and second place in Group A.

In Group B, Gibraltar fell agonizingly short of Belgium's 149-6 by 7 runs. A sixth wicket stand of 72 between Akshat Sanghvi and Samin Shah proved crucial, lifting the Belgians from 78-5 to a defendable score.

If anyone could have won the match for Gibraltar it was their captain, Scott Chipolina, who had earlier taken 2-17 with his off-breaks. His courageous 69 had dragged his side from the doldrums of 50-5 to contention at 133-6, but without any meaningful support and a lack of strike, 40 off the last five overs was always likely to be too much to ask.

A huge six over long-off from Philip Dumas, however, kept the match alive until the last few balls, but the Belgians held their nerve to squeeze past Gibraltar, and Cyprus, into third place in Group B.

Jersey wrapped up their Group A campaign with a comprehensive defeat of the French in the afternoon, therefore ensuring that, as expected, they would take their place in the championship's Saturday showpiece.

Aidan McGuire continued his good form with an excellent 95 not out as Jersey set France a mammoth target of 238. This was to be more than enough to secure victory, which was duly achieved by a margin of 167 runs.

Tim de la Haye led the way, taking 3-8, and will be on a hat-trick the next time he bowls, having taken wickets with his last two balls today. Charles Perchard also recorded his best figures of the tournament, 3-13, and, after a fine opening spell, returned to finish the match with his first over back.

As Jersey and France played it out on the top pitch, a century opening stand (140) between CJ Peatfield (109) and Will Thompson (57) set Guernsey on their way to a total of 237-3 that would be too much for host country Spain and would guarantee an all-Channel Islands denouement to the championship.

Near to the end of Guernsey's innings. Peatfield became the tournament's second centurion. His excellently controlled innings of 109 came up off 103 balls and included ten boundaries.

With Thompson again batting fluently for his second fifty of the week, there were slim pickings for the Spanish bowlers, but, in spite of how the scorecard reads, they bowled with discipline and commitment throughout.

More than six an over from the off is always a tall order, and for Spain it was no different, especially against Guernsey's dangerous and accurate attack.

Seamers Hutchinson (2-19) and Renouf (five overs for four runs) yet again denied the batsmen any opportunity to hit out early on and, with the spinners again giving nothing away (Max Ellis was again extremely parsimonious with figures of 7-3-12-3), Spain fell ever increasingly behind the required rate.

Nevertheless, they kept Guernsey in the field for all thirty-five overs, safe in the knowledge that a well-deserved second place in Group B was guaranteed irrespective of result or run rate.

Tomorrow's only match is between France and Gibraltar in a ninth and tenth place play-off, while the fixtures for Saturday, the last day of an enterprising week of cricket, are as follows;

7th/8th place play-off:
Germany v Cyprus
5th/6th place play-off
Italy v Belgium
3rd/4th place play-off
Isle of Man v Spain
1st/2nd place play-off
Jersey v Guernsey

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