Ireland’s Under-19s came back from their opening-day defeat by the Netherlands to beat Jersey by 40 runs in Almería on Wednesday, but they were made to fight all the way by a determined opponent.
The win keeps Ireland in the hunt for the one World Cup place on offer from this four-team tournament, but their relatively narrow winning margin – which gave them a precarious positive net run rate – means that even victory over Scotland on Thursday would leave them nervously watching the outcome of the final round-robin clash between Jersey and the Dutch on Friday.
In contrast with the first three days, when spin bowlers were decisive in determining the result, the batters were generally in command on Wednesday, Jack Dickson’s century for Ireland propelling his side to the week’s highest total so far, 246 for five, and a third-wicket partnership between Patrick Gouge and Asa Tribe nourishing Jersey’s hopes of pulling off a surprise victory.
Put in to bat, Ireland began promisingly, 28 coming from the first four overs before Nathan McGuire, whose 21-ball 25 included two fours and a six, fell to William Perchard, but then the Jersey bowlers found their rhythm and only 13 were added from the rest of the initial powerplay.
Still, Dickson remained firmly in control, and he and Philippus le Roux (43) put on 85 for the fourth wicket in a stand which put Ireland on track for a commanding total.
Only off-spinner Toby Britton was able to restrict the scoring with any real consistency, his ten overs producing just 21 runs and a wicket, but Dickson batted through, reaching his hundred in the final over and finishing with an unbeaten 103, made from 126 deliveries with seven fours and four sixes.
Two quick wickets for Liam Doherty put Jersey on the back foot, but then Gouge and Tribe came together in the most productive partnership of the week, although it took them almost 30 overs, so that by the time Gouge was run out for 55 the asking rate had risen to over seven and a half an over.
Then Nathan McGuire trapped Tribe in front for 62, the first of his three wickets at a cost of 34 runs, and the Jersey task began to seem impossible.
A stubborn 21 not out from James Sunley got them past 200, but in the final ten overs there could realistically be only one outcome, and Jersey closed on 206 for nine.
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