Ireland cruised to the most comprehensive of victories with a ten wicket win over old rivals Scotland in the opening game of the European Women’s Championships at Clontarf.
Chasing a relatively modest 86 for the win, the Irish opening pair of Cecelia Joyce and Eimear Richardson were ruthless, knocking off the runs in just 14.3 overs with the minimum of fuss.
Joyce struck some lovely cover drives, and was particularly severe on anything remotely short, striking seven boundaries in her unbeaten 41 from 43 balls.
Richardson was equally impressive, favouring the midwicket areas, again finding the boundary ropes with regularity as too often the youthful Scottish attack strayed in length and line. Richardson finished unbeaten on 33 from 50 deliveries, striking 6 fours.
Earlier in the day Scotland had battled against a tight and impressive Irish bowling display, making 85 from 47.5 overs. They had looked destined to post a total well in excess of 100, but the dismissal of their talismanic skipper Kari Anderson for 29 with the total on 62 for 4, heralded a dramatic collapse.
Anderson leg glanced Amy Kenealy to Valmai Gee, who took a superb catch standing up to the stumps. The same combination accounted for Fiona Urquhart for just a single, before Eimear Richardson took centre stage.
The tall off-spinner accounted for Catherine Smaill, Caroline Sweetman, Lynne Dixon and Lorna Jack in quick succession, to finish with the excellent analysis of 4 for 10 in her eight over spell. That coupled with her batting, was more than enough to assure her of the adjudicators verdict in the Player of the Match Award.
Leigh Kasperek (10), was the only other Scottish batter to reach double figures, playing some lovely square cuts, before being brilliantly run out by a direct hit from Jill Whelan.
Unfortunately for Scotland, the tone of their innings was set as early as the first over the day, when their powerful opener Kathryn White hit a Heather Whelan full toss tamely to cover. Whelan also finished off the innings, trapping Abbi Aitken lbw for one.
All of the Irish bowlers stuck to their task well, giving the Scottish batters very little in the way of width, and backed up by enthusiastic fielding, they kept the pressure on at all times. Although Isobel Joyce, Melissa Scott –Hayward, and Marianne Herbert didn’t take a wicket, they bowled with great discipline.
The successful wicket takers for Ireland were Eimear Richardson (4-10), Amy Kenealy (2-6), Heather Whelan (2-13), and Jill Whelan (1-16).
The next fixture sees Scotland hope to bounce back with an improved performance against The Netherlands at North County. There’s no doubting that it will require a much better display to capture the points.