Gibraltar and Isle of Man win their opening games

Mon, Jul 23, 2007 3:18 PM

Top seeds Gibraltar, now reunited with their kit, opened their European Under 19 Division 2 campaign with a victory over Italy on Monday, setting up a potentially thrilling Group A decider on Tuesday against hosts Jersey.

After winning the toss and electing to bat at Farmers, Gibraltar were put into a strong position by an 84-run stand for the second wicket between opener Scott Chipolina and Akhil Viz. Chipolina was the more aggressive in a generally steady partnership, reaching his half-century and then being stumped for 53 off the bowling of Luca Moscatellini.

That made the score 100 for two in the 40th over, and when Viz departed soon afterwards for a patient 27 it was the trigger for a flurry of wickets in the final overs as the Gibraltarians sought to build a substantial total. Two run-outs made their task more difficult, and the innings closed on 153 for seven.

Italy reached 40 in reply without losing a wicket, but once Gibraltar’s three-man spin attack came into action the Italians began to feel the pressure. Skipper Kabir Mirpuri bowled eight overs for 14 runs, but it was Akhil Viz and Robert Skinner who picked up the wickets as Italy were dismissed for 113. Viz took four for 33 and Skinner five for 28.

Opener Edoardo Mazzi, the Italian captain, was the top scorer for his side with 29, but nobody after the top four reached double figures.

The Isle of Man had a successful start to their Under 19 programme, pulling off a hard-fought three-wicket victory over Israel.

Put in to bat, the Israelis failed to take the initiative against a Manx attack which displayed a tendency to bowl an unacceptable number of wides. Gabriel Schachat top-scored with 38, made from 129 balls, and he and Shai Divekar shared a remarkable partnership of 49 for the fourth wicket before Divekar was dismissed for a 64-ball duck. He received a standing ovation from some of his team-mates.

The situation was partly redeemed in the closing stages of the innings by skipper Oren Chincholkar, who again batted well, making a not-out 33 from 50 balls.

The pick of the Manx bowlers was Daniel Kniveton, who took five for 20 in an excellent 10-over spell.

Kniveton also played a decisive role when the Isle of Man batted, anchoring the innings with 35 not out. They were 72 for one at one stage, but with Chincholkar, Schachat and Raz Ben Zaken collecting two wickets each it took the Manx until the penultimate over to reach their target, with three wickets in hand.

Guernsey also played for the first time on Monday, but had the frustrating experience of seeing their match against Belgium at Les Quennevais rained off after they had reached 130 for three in the 33rd over, with Ben Ferbrache on 40 not out.

The players were driven from the field at that point, and after a long delay an attempt was made to resume with the game cut down to 38 overs a side. Even this was impossible, however, because of the condition of the ground, and the match was abandoned.

Guernsey will now have to beat France on Tuesday more convincingly than Belgium did on the opening day if they are to progress to the play-offs for first place in the tournament.

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