The Dutch disappoint, but still come away with the points

ICC Europe/CricketEurope

Jersey are left to rue what might have been, a poor fielding and batting performance denying the Channel Islanders what otherwise should have been victory over their more-established Dutch opponents in Belfast today. Chasing 150, Jersey would fall 38 runs short.

Under grey skies and on a traditionally seamer-friendly Shaw's Bridge pitch, Jersey captain Ben Stevens had leapt at the chance to bowl first, but that only two wickets fell to the new ball - Stephen Blackburn bothering the off-stump of both Dutch captain Dennis Coster and Sverre Loggers - perhaps suggests a wasted opportunity in ideal conditions.

Of course, with James Faudemer and Stevens - who, in particular, bowled with beautiful control and flight - getting through twenty combined overs of admirably economical slow-left-armers, things were kept tight, but when chances came, most often they went down: six in all hit the turf, and the adage about catches, winning and matches is likely relevant here.

What these fielding errors gave the Dutch was a platform. Yes, runs had been precious commodities, but with five wickets in hand at the start of the batting power-play Emile van den Burg (36 from 25 balls) was free to wrench his side first into respectability, then into competitivity, Netherlands finishing on 149.

Nevertheless, successful defence was always likely to hang on the performance of the Dutch seamers, and when Paul van Meekeren - in what was, in retrospect, a match-winning forty minutes - found Aiden McGuire's outside edge and Jersey captain Stevens's leg stump, and then castled Daniel McAviney, Jersey were left reeling at 8 for 3.

(Of course, McAviney might be forgiven for failing with the bat: his fielding - which effected three individual run outs and a catch - was by some distance the highlight of the first half of the match)

Backs against the wall, then, but while Cornelis Bodenstein - a stylish left-hander - stayed at the crease, the match remained alive, and as Coster rotated his seamers Jersey crept on.

When Bodenstein pulled Sebastian Braat straight to Nicolaas Vieler at square leg, though, the chase ended in earnest. The run out of Stephen Blackburn may have been freakishly unlucky - a free hit, cannoning off the bowler to cover, Blackburn stranded mid-pitch - and the required run rate might never have been an issue, but that no one was left to shepherd the tail home against an experienced Dutch attack was fatal to the Jersey cause.

The Dutch, then, leave Shaw's Bridge relieved that what seemed a sub-par performance still yielded a victory, while Jersey should take heart that better catching and more disciplined shot selection might well result in another 'upset' over either Ireland or Scotland.