Ireland will play Scotland and Netherlands in a six-match T20 Tri-Series in Malahide next month, competitive match preparation for the T20 World Cup qualifiers in October.
Cricket Ireland finally confirmed the series, first announced in the Belfast Telegraph on August 19, yesterday afternoon with the teams playing each other twice. The games will be played on six successive days from September 15-20, all starting at 1.30pm, and all with free admission.
The series replaces the Euro T20 Slam where 54 players from the three countries were due to be involved but was cancelled by the organisers just 16 days before yesterday’s scheduled first matches.
That tournament was due to last three weeks and the Tri-Series now fits into the slot when Malahide were due to host Slam matches so everything was already in position for Ireland, as the ICC Full Member who instigated the Slam, to stage the Tri-Series.
Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom in a joint press release yesterday said “As both a goodwill gesture and a demonstration of their commitment to the Slam starting next year, the organisers of the Slam have agreed to support the operations of the new series.”
He added: “The series will be played under similar conditions as last year’s Tri-series between these sides which was hosted in the Netherlands (and won by Scotland) and will be an ideal opportunity for three relatively evenly matched teams to fine tune their games ahead of the Qualifier.
“The postponement of the Slam and the opportunity for our players to mix with the world’s best not only put that on hold for another year, it robbed us of the chance to prepare properly for the T20 World Cup Qualifier in October and put ourselves back on the world stage in Australia next year.”
Full fixture list (all games at Malahide, 1.30pm):
September 15 Ireland v Netherlands,
Sep 16 Scotland v Netherlands,
Sep 17 Ireland v Scotland,
Sep 18, Ireland v Netherlands,
Sep 19 Scotland v Netherlands,
Sep 20 Ireland v Scotland.
Ardmore get the chance to become the first North West team to win the Irish National Cup tomorrow when they take on Railway Union in this year’s final at Balrothery.
Killyclooney and Drummond (in 2014 and 2015) are the only North West sides to have reached the final, but both lost to Rush so Ardmore will be extra keen not to make it a hat-trick of disappointments.
They will be up against Kevin O’Brien, however, the Ireland international who was due to be playing in the Slam, now free to play for his home club.
However, Ardmore professional Peet Pienaar has scored more than 1,300 runs and the game gives veteran Decker Curry the chance to play in another final as the Eric Cooke (T20) Cup, Sam Jeffrey Shield winners and Championship leaders, continue their quest for four trophies.
The North West side have already won two trophies this season, the Eric Cooke (T20) Cup and, last Saturday, the Sam Jeffrey Shield and with two games left are favourites to win the Long’s SuperValu Championship.
Indeed they could head south tomorrow with the title already won, if they beat Killyclooney at The Bleachgreen today and second place Burndennett lose at Fox Lodge.