European Under 23 2nd Division Championships
Wed, Aug 15, 2007 5:52 PM
LITTLE did Guernsey's Under 23 team know that when No 9 batsman Chris van Vliet was caught off the last ball of the innings in their Group B game against Italy that it would cost them a place in the European 2nd Division Championship final.
Although Guernsey won the match by 51 runs, the loss of eight wickets, instead of seven, brought their run-rate down from 1.41 to 1.28 and with France sitting on 1.31 after their opening day victory against Italy, it was France who went through to Thursday's final.
There they will play Jersey who finished clear of their two opponents in Group A after beating Gibraltar by 94 runs on Wednesday.
Gibraltar will now play hosts Guernsey in the third-fourth place play-off on Thursday with Germany and Italy battling it out for the wooden spoon.
With France the idle team in Group B in the final round of games, the pressure was on Guernsey to win by a big enough margin to get above them on run-rate. The overnight rain delayed the start until 3pm with the match reduced to 34 overs per side and with more rain forecast for late afternoon, it was no surprise that Italy elected to field on winning the toss.
Not for the first time this week, wides were the biggest benefactor to the Guernsey total, 40 of them in a total of 160 for eight although James Warr batted for all but the first two overs in scoring 37 from 81 balls. He did not hit a boundary but occupied the crease and it ensured the hosts won the match.
In spite of 35 from Joy Perera, off just 40 balls, with four fours and a six, Italy never threatened but they had scored enough runs and kept enough wickets intact - the unbroken eighth wicket partnership added 13 - to ultimately frustrate Guernsey and the Italians were the toast of France.
Jersey, entering the competition a day later than scheduled because of Tuesday's rain, knew run-rate would not be a factor because they were playing Gibraltar, who had won the only other game in Group A.
In the winner-take-all match, Gibraltar won the toss and, mindful of the weather forecast - the rain arrived and went during the lunch interval - put Jersey into bat. A cautious start yielded only 87 runs in the first 30 overs but the tournament favourites added 140 in the last 20 to put the game beyond their opponents' reach.
Under 19 player Ed Farley led the acceleration with 72 and while Tim Minty and Mark Chipperfield scored only 37 between them, the runs came off just 29 balls in partnerships of 48 and 41 for the fourth and sixth wickets respectively.
Gibraltar reached 87 for three in reply and still had an outside chance of a second victory but two quick wickets, including Monday's hero, Iain Latin, left their captain, Karan Aswani with too much to do. He was out two balls after bringing up his 50 and the last five wickets fell for just 15 runs.