Wilson backing Ireland to succeed
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
GARY Wilson has never lost to the Netherlands and the in-form Surrey professional has no intention of starting now, eight years after his first game against the Oranjemen.
With two more wins for Ireland tomorrow and on Tuesday in Amstelveen, supporters can start booking winter holidays for Australia in early 2015 to watch their latest adventure at the ICC World Cup finals. And with an unbeaten record stretching to 12 games - Wilson missed the last defeat against the Dutch in Nairobi in 2007 - there will be a confidence in the Irish camp that they can finish the job that was started two years and two days ago.
That was a match against Namibia at Stormont which at the time no-one even knew was a World Cup qualifier. The decision to use the World Cricket League as the qualifying tournament for the eight leading Associates was only taken the following month, so Ed Joyce was allowed to miss the game.
Ireland still completed a 26 runs success and, duly warmed up, enjoyed a much more emphatic eight wickets success the following day. They haven't looked back since with back to back victories against Canada and the UAE to go with a one-off victory against Afghanistan - the first game at Clontarf was rained off. Their only setback to date was in Mombasa, in February last year, when they lost the first of the two ODIs against Kenya, but that run of results still leaves Ireland with the chance to wrap up the first qualifying spot with two games, against Scotland at Stormont in September, to spare.
Wilson is taking no notice of his unblemished record against Netherlands.
"We'll not be thinking about the past. All that will be in our minds is getting two wins in these World Cup qualifiers and we're confident of doing that, if we play anything like we know we can do," he said.
"There's not much difference between Holland and Scotland, they are both strong teams, so obviously we'd prefer not to have to rely on getting one or two wins in Belfast. We want to finish the job here and if we put our strongest performance in we will beat them.
"We've had a strong tournament but Phil (Simmons, the National Coach) doesn't just want to qualify he wants to put a distance between us and the rest. So he wants to win the next four games, finish with 25 points out of 28 and that's the way we are thinking as a squad of 14. First and foremost we want to win these two."
Wilson was one of six county professionals who missed the Intercontinental Cup victory over the Dutch at Deventer, completed on Wednesday with a day to spare, but while both teams are ringing the changes - Netherlands have made eight to their 14-man squad - the 27-year-old from Belfast is sure there will be a psychological advantage.
He said: "It's good we turned them over in the I-Cup. We can take confidence from that as a side into the one-dayers. Holland will be no push-overs, we know about their new players so we will have plans for them and back ourselves to play our game and reach our third World Cup finals."