ECB XI gets one hand on the trophy

Wed, Aug 15, 2007 5:55 PM

The ECB Development XI took a big step towards defending their European championship title in Deventer on Wednesday, defeating Ireland by 69 runs to move into a secure position at the top of the table.

Only a heavy defeat at the hands of Scotland, who on Wednesday lost their second match of the tournament when they went down to hosts The Netherlands by a margin of eight wickets, could now deprive the English women of the title, and that seems profoundly unlikely.

The ECB XI, having again won the toss and elected to bat, were in early trouble against the Irish attack, with Tamsin Beaumont, Rebecca Williams and Tuesday’s centurion Jenni Halstead all back in the pavilion with only 35 runs on the board. Marianne Herbert was again the spearhead after Heather Whelan had claimed the initial breakthrough, taking two wickets for 21.

Dawn Prestidge led the recovery, making 26 before she was trapped leg-before by Eimear Richardson, but the decisive partnership, for the seventh wicket, was between Danielle Wyatt and Sophie Le Marchand, who added 57 before Le Marchand was run out for 31 by a direct hit from Jillian Smythe.

Wyatt was bowled by Heather Whelan for 23 without addition to the score, and the innings closed on 187 for eight.

Helped by a plentiful number of wides, Ireland reached 49 in reply before losing their first wicket, but once the breakthrough came the English bowlers proved too strong for the Irish batsmen, off-spinners Wyatt and Danielle Hazell taking three for 17 and two for 19 in ten-over spells and seamer Georgia Elwiss claiming three for 23.

Cecelia and Isobel Joyce were again the core of the Irish batting, the only two to reach double figures as the side were bundled out for 118.

Scotland made an even better start against the Dutch attack, Kathryn White and Catherine Smaill putting on 71 before spinner Caroline de Fouw claimed the first wicket, having Smaill caught by Annemarie Tanke for 22.

This was the beginning of a remarkable collapse, as the last nine Scottish wickets yielded just 42 runs. White top-scored with 39, but apart from the openers only Kari Anderson achieved double figures.

De Fouw went on to take four for 14 in a nine-over spell, with Tanke taking two for 27 as Scotland were dismissed for 113.

The Dutch batsmen had little difficulty in reaching this target, Cheraldine Oudolf leading the way with 41 and putting on 65 with Violet Wattenberg before the latter was run out. Oudolf was bowled by Fiona Urquhart with the score on 75, but Jacqueline Pashley supported Helmien Rambaldo as the Dutch captain, with 30 not out, made sure of the eight-wicket win.

By defeating Scotland the Dutch side have made sure of a place in Group A for the World Cup Qualifier in Pakistan in November; this is something of a mixed blessing, however, since the top seeds in the group are South Africa, who recently inflicted a 3-nil ODI series win on The Netherlands.

Thursday is a rest day, with the final round of matches (including a full ODI between Ireland and The Netherlands) scheduled for Friday.

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