METCALFE DELIGHT AS IRELAND UNDER 19'S FINISH STRONGLY

Ireland Under 19 girls finished their tour of England with convincing back-to-back wins over Wales and Buckinghamshire in T20 contests.

A century stand between the Lewis sisters saw Ireland chase down 117 in 16.1 overs to seal a 9-wicket win against the Welsh.

Robyn hit 6 boundaries as she top scored with 61 from just 45 balls, while Gaby's unbeaten 48 came from 50 balls and included 7 fours. That completed an excellent all-round display by Gaby who had taken 2 for 21 as Wales were restricted to 117 for 6.

The win over Buckinghamshire exemplified the strength in depth of the young Irish squad as a powerful batting display saw them rack up 172 for 5 in their 20 overs.

Rebecca Stokell top scored with 35, with runs also for Caoimhe McCann (32), Robyn Lewis (22) and Natasha Morton (18*).

In reply, Cara Murray's opening spell of 2 for 5 ensured Buckinghamshire were always struggling, and with Aisling Byrne picking up 3 for 15 Ireland cruised to a comfortable 95-run victory.

The victories completed an excellent week away for the Irish and coach Ciara Metcalfe was clearly delighted at their brand of cricket during the tour.

"It's been an exciting few days for the girls with some fantastic performances," said Metcalfe. "We really benefitted from our 10-week winter block and it was nice to see how it had all come together during the tournament..

"We were very unlucky in the first game losing narrowly to Warwickshire, but taking 3 wins out of four was a good result. We played a mixture of teams, and after the narrow defeat on the first day, we worked out our game plan and executed our skills much quicker.

"I think the huge positive for me was how we set about each game. Playing players we don't play week in and out was a challenge. Showing patience, game awareness and just playing some gritty cricket showed me that we've moved on somewhat and things are hopefully going in the right direction," added Metcalfe.

"The challenge now is for the squad to get additional fixtures. If we had two, possibly three sets of these games each summer we would improve no end. That would give the girls some decent exposure providing a platform for them to showcase their talent before asking them to perform on the senior stage."