Pitch plays tricks on Scotland in defeat against Irish

SCOTLAND suffered a setback in their World Cricket League bid with a five-wicket defeat to old foes Ireland in Holland yesterday.

However, the main talking point of this match was the state of the Voorburg wicket which was at best farcical and at worst dangerous as Neil McCallum discovered when he was clattered on the helmet. Scotland were skittled for a mere 117 before the Irish suffered problems of their own, losing five wickets before maintaining their 100 per cent record in the tournament.

No blame could be attached to the pitch, though, when Preston Mommsen embarked on a wayward run to give Ireland the start they wanted. The Carlton batsman, sent back by Ollie Hairs, was well short of his ground when the throw came in from Nigel Jones at mid-wicket. Hairs managed one boundary off Kevin O'Brien but was the first victim of uneven bounce when he attempted to cut a delivery from the same bowler only to chop it on to his stumps as the ball kept low.

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Then the prolific Richie Berrington miscued a Jones delivery to Andrew Poynter at cover. Fraser Watts managed to preserve his wicket for 44 balls before skying Alex Cusack to Jones at square leg to depart for 8. Moneeb Iqbal drove Jones straight to Cusack at cover as the Scots collapsed to 40-5.

McCallum and Dougie Lockhart had a dogged sixth wicket stand that yielded 59 runs, but it remained a struggle. Lockhart managed just one boundary in his rearguard action, facing 68 balls for his 19. McCallum was able to dispatch six boundaries in his 94-ball 49 but was given a painful reminder that the pitch remained a minefield when a good length delivery by Alex Cusack reared up and crashed into his helmet. The Grange batsman was able to continue but was caught and bowled by John Mooney in the next over, signalling a collapse that saw the Scots lose their last four wickets for 11 runs.

The totals proved too low to defend. The experienced Kevin O'Brien and John Mooney saw their side home with an unbroken stand of 55.

Scotland are likely to need victory against both Kenya tomorrow and Afghanistan on Friday if they are to reach the final on Saturday.