Ireland on top at Under 17 Championship

Tue, Aug 7, 2007 6:24 PM

Ireland are in total control of their game with The Netherlands after the first day's play. The defending champions ran up a commanding total of 370 for 5 in 64 overs before declaring, a healthy run rate of 5.78.

They were given a perfect platform by the opening pair of Paul Stirling and Ben Ackland, both of whom have starred at higher age groups in this year's European tournaments. They added 160 runs for the first wicket, before Stirling was bowled for 96 by Lucas Brouwer. The powerful right hander faced just 86 balls and hit 15 fours and 2 sixes.

There was to be no respite for the Netherlands, as Graham Mc Donnell joined Ackland, and the pair continued the brisk scoring rate, as they put on 126 for the second wicket, before a min collapse ensued. Mc Donnell was dismissed by Ferdi Vink for 57, which included 10 boundaries and came off just 63 balls. Just 6 runs later Andrew Balbirnie, who had scored a half century against Ireland 'A' for the MCC last week, went for 2, caught off the bowling of Floris Kingma. Vink then had Ackland caught for 114 with no addition to the score. The all-rounder, who is on the books of Northants, hit 11 boundaries in his 168 ball sojurn at the crease.

With quick runs now being the order of the day, Jamie Shannon hit an unbeaten 41 from 39 balls, sharing in stands of 48 with Lee Nelson (15), and 30 with Shane Getkate (15*) before the declaration came.

Faced with such a daunting total The Netherlands have struggled, and finished on 87 for 5 from 38 overs. Only Timoth Gruijters (27*) has been able to cope with the impressive Irish attack thus far. Graeme Mc Donnell and Robert Smith have each taken two wickets, while Eddie Richardson (1-7) struck the other blow.

The challenge will now be for the Irish to take 15 wickets on the final day - it won't be easy on an excellent batting strip, and they are sure to be faced with some resilient batting as The Netherlands attempt to salvage a draw.

At Lochlands Scotland won the toss and elected to field. Denmark made their intentions clear with only 12 runs coming off the first 10 overs as they looked to build a platform. The Scotland bowlers did not get their line and length right which made it easy for the Danes.

Forty overs were bowled by lunch when the score was fifty two for the loss of Hamid Shah. After lunch Scotland made inroads reducing Denmark to 98 for 5 but could not press home their advantage and in the end the Danes were finally out in the ninety seventh over for 213 with Kasper Blumenau top scoring with an unbeaten 40 from 106 deliveries.

Scotland faced a tricky session before the close and the Danish captain Aftab Ahmed put them on the back foot taking a return catch to dismiss Marc Petrie with only 2 runs on the board.

No further wickets fell and the hosts finished the day 186 runs adrift. The Danish Management team were delighted with the application shown by their players, however it w

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