Danes and Dutch tie, but Ireland are the winners
Ireland duly secured their eighth successive European Under 15 championship in Deventer on Thursday, beating Scotland by 49 runs despite a dramatic collapse towards the end of their innings.
But the real excitement was in the match deciding third place, where Denmark recovered after being bowled out for 60, dismissing the Dutch for the same total. They were unable to claim the tie, however, for under the tournament rules if the scores and the wickets lost are equal, the win goes to the side which had the higher score after 15 overs. That gave The Netherlands the win with an advantage of 3 runs.
In the main match, Ireland were asked to bat first after losing the toss, and began well despite the early loss of Robin Russell. Jason van der Merwe and Shane Getkate added 52 for the second wicket, and Getkate and Dean Mehaffey then put on 77 for the third.
At this point the Irish were sitting pretty on 129 for two, but a drinks break immediately after Mehaffey was run out proved to be their downfall. Getkate was caught by Patrick Sadler off his own bowling in the first over after the break, and that provoked a remarkable comeback by the Scots, who captured the last eight Irish wickets for just 37 runs.
All the Scottish bowlers chipped in, Aman Bailwal, Kris Mein and Freddie Coleman picking up two wickets each as Ireland were all out for 166.
But the Irish seam attack has been overwhelmingly the strongest throughout the tournament, and with Getkate collecting one wicket and Eoghan Conway two, Scotland were 9 for three before the spectators had properly settled after lunch.
There was no way back from there, and despite dogged innings from Michael Anderson (17), Andrew Chalmers (15) and Andrew Lewis (22) the Scottish batsmen never really got on top of the Irish bowlers.
Jonathan Andrews took three for 31 in his nine-over spell, and Scotlandâ€™s innings ended on 117 with more than four overs left.
The bowlers dominated completely in the other match, where The Netherlands won the toss and elected to field. Nikkie Vieler and Dennis Coster took full advantage of the new ball, and assisted by some splendid catching, they soon had the Danes on 16 for three.
Then Paul van Meekeren contributed a terrific four-over spell of three for 12, including two wickets off successive balls as Denmark slumped to 31 for six.
That the last four wickets almost doubled the score was largely due to Hamid Mazhar Shah, who was not only top scorer with 31, but the only Danish batsman to reach double figures. Vieler came back to remove him, and then took two more wickets to finish off the innings, ending with figures of four for 20.
The Danish total of 60 should have presented few problems to the Dutch batsmen, but Denmark had other ideas. The Netherlands reached 30 for two calmly enough, but then Shah followed up his efforts with the bat with an extraordinary spell which turned the game. He took five for 20 in his nine overs, including a hat-trick, and suddenly the Dutch were 38 for six.
Skipper Jaap Dickmann offered some resistance, and in the context of this low-scoring game his stand of 15 with Vieler brought his side within sight of victory.
Then Kamran Mahmood removed Vieler, and with the Dutch total on 59, Shah had Dickmann leg-before. Tom Brown dismissed Usman Yousuf, and with the last pair together a wide brought the scores level.
A few dot balls followed as the tension rose, and then, with the batsmen attempting a rather desperate leg-bye, a smart return produced a run-out with the scores still tied.
But it all proved in vain, as the comparison of the totals at 15 overs led to the match being awarded to The Netherlands. Still, the Danesâ€™ courageous battle gave them a positive end to a difficult week, and may have contributed to their being awarded the Spirit of Cricket award.
Irish allrounder Shane Getkate was declared the Player of the Tournament for his efforts with both bat and ball.