European Division Three - Day One report
The old ECC Trophy has been re-branded as Division Three of the European Championship, and it got under-way in Belgium yesterday. Norway, the 2005 Winners, have progressed to Division One, whilst runners-up Greece have been demoted to Division Four due to fielding ineligible players in Division Two last year.
This left Belgium and Spain as the top-ranked teams in the tournament, but they both lost yesterday.
Belgium played the Isle of Man at Antwerp CC. Belgium bowled well, Shar Khan picking up four wickets for 28 runs. Graeme Garrett (60) and Gareth Morris (38) batted well for the Manxmen, but no one else reached double figures as they scored 162.
Some tight bowling by Scott Pearce (4/17) quickly removed the Belgian top order, leaving them on 45/4, before wicket-keeper Shaheryar Butt recovered with an innings of 58. He was then removed by Gareth Morris, who then removed the tail-enders to finish with figures of 4/36 as the Isle of Man secured a 11 run win.
Croatia made the highest score of the day with 198/6 against Spain, well anchored by Paul Vujnovich's innings of 71. Spain came close, but some good bowling by the Croatians, particularly Phillip Siljeg with 3/36, restricted them to 182, and Croatia won by 16 runs.
Malta picked up the most comprehensive win of the day, bowling Cyprus, playing their first game at this level, out for 160 with Ronnie Sacco taking 4/24. They reached their target after 36 overs for the loss of 3 wickets.
Finland reached 171/9 from their 50 overs against Portugal, helped in no small part by their top-score of 41 from extras. Portugal, led by their 50 year old captain Akbar Saiyad looked to be cruising on 129/5, but five quick wickets, four of them from Petteri Moilanen who finished with figures of 5/17, meant that they were bowled out for 139, Finland winning by 32 runs.