ROCK AND TOPPING STAR AS IRELAND U19 BEAT WORCESTERSHIRE
IRELAND U19's overcame a shaky start to win a thrilling contest against Worcestershire Academy at Bromsgrove by five runs on the first match of their short tour of England.
Batting first, four wickets for Adam Finch (4-21) reduced Ireland to a precarious 51 for 5 in a contest reduced to 46 overs after overnight rain.
However the Irish turned the game around with a superb recovery as Neil Rock top scored with an unbeaten 83 from 97 balls, hitting 13 fours.
Rock shared stands of 117 in 143 balls with Morgan Topping - who made an excellent 55 from 86 balls (8 fours, 1 six) - and an unbroken 57 from just 38 deliveries with Josh Little (22*).
Ireland's final total of 225 for 6 gave their bowlers something to defend, but Jack Haynes (69) and Josh Dell (40) seemed to have given the home side the upper hand as they advanced to 128 for 2.
Haynes dismissal proved the key moment- one of three wickets for Pembroke spinner JJ Garth (3-27).
Max Neville (2-44), Harry Tector (1-38), and Josh Little (1-49) were the other wicket takers as the Irish held their nerve to close out the win in a terrific battle.
The sides meet again on Tuesday 11 July at the same venue.
The Irish are using the tour as part of their preparations for the U19 World Cup Qualifiers which get under way in Jersey in two weeks time.
At Bromsgrove, Ireland U19 beat Worcestershire Academy by 5 runs
Ireland U19 225-6 (46 overs; N Rock 83*, M Topping 55, S Murphy 29, J Little 22*; A Finch 4-21)
Worcestershire Academy 220-8 (46 overs; J Haynes 69, J Dell 40; JJ Garth 3-27, M Neville 2-44)