Scotland make it two from two in quick time
Jersey 61 (26.3 overs), R Cameron 5-13 lost to Scotland 62-3 (18.5 overs), R Johnston 39* Scotland won by 7 wickets [Scorecard]
The matches on the third day of the ICC European U15 Division 1 Championship could not have played out more differently.
First, Scotland made it two from two this week, easing past Jersey by seven wickets on the first ground at Rugby School.
Jersey had won the toss and chosen to bat, a decision which, at 28-1, looked justified, with William Robertson – lbw to Ewan Dawtrey – the only casualty.
However, when Hughes Gillin was finally rewarded for an accurate opening spell with the dismissal of Grant Donaldson, the wickets tumbled.
Scottish skipper Shujaa Khan picked up 2-10 in a very economical spell, but Ryan Cameron, who returned the best figures of the week so far with 8-3-13-5, was the destroyer-in-chief.
For Jersey, hope remained while Jonty Jenner was at the crease; he was responsible for 21 of the 23 runs contributed by the third- to sixth-wicket partnerships.
But when he fell to Cameron, caught by Khan, the game was up. Jersey subsided to 61 all out, Rory Allardice taking the final wicket.
Still, Jersey were determined in the field, making Scotland fight for their victory. Solomon Warner, Donaldson and Roberston each picked up a wicket, so it took a composed and unbeaten 39 from Rory Johnston to bring it home for the Scots without further alarm.
The result leaves Jersey with one win from three matches, while Scotland seem to be mounting a serious challenge for this year’s title. Their matches over the weekend against the Netherlands and Ireland will be crucial in deciding this championship.
Meanwhile, Ireland edged home by 17 runs against the Netherlands in what was easily the best match of the tournament so far.
Batting first, the Irish had been on course to set a daunting target. Despite losing the in-form Colin Currie for 30, Fiachra Tucker and Andrew Delany had taken their team to 85-1 at the half-way point in the innings.
A devastating spell of slow bowling from Tushar Sharma, however, completely reversed the flow of the innings. Sharma returned figures of 10-0-33-4, all of his victims top-order batsmen, as the Irish lost their last nine wickets for only 45 runs.
Sharma was well supported by Pieter de Graaff, who bowled ten tidy overs, while three sharp run-outs from Dutch fielders complemented a generally tidy performance with the ball.
However, following the twelve overs bowled before lunch, things did not look quite so rosy for the Dutch: three key wickets had fallen for only 42, and the match was evenly poised.
After the interval, David Delany changed the complexion of this topsy-turvy match once again, claiming his fourth and fifth wickets to leave the Netherlands reeling at 53-5.
Yet, from here, the Dutch clawed their way back to parity, then inched their noses ahead. Bas de Leede and Rens van Troost batted maturely, sharing a partnership of 53 and reducing the runs required to only 35.
The key, however, was that Ireland’s main bowlers had overs remaining. Rory Anders (2-22) finished his spell, trapping van Troost in front. Then Ryan MacBeth returned, hitting the stumps in successive balls to make it 116-8.
After this, de Leede soldiered on, but when he fell victim to an outstanding return catch from Delany, who in the process completed a priceless and deserved five-for, the Irish had the game by the throat. MacBeth (3-25), clean bowling a third batsman, ended things in the next over.
It was a pulsating match, swinging this way and that; the Dutch may regret leaving 37 balls unused, Ireland will certainly be relieved that not using 33 of their own was not costly.
The Netherlands now lie fourth in the table, without a win so far. Ireland, on the other hand, lead the table and know that victory against the Scots on Sunday will see them regain a title they last held in 2007.