WITH the World T20 qualifier kicking off next week, Andy Balbirnie got the chance to check out the Afghans up close this week when they took on Middlesex 2nds.

Not that the courtesy was returned of course, as he only allowed them check out his technique for one ball as he got out to Aftab in a six wicket defeat.

Stuart Poynter is also in the Ireland T20 squad, but his cricket this week was all in the 50 over format. On Wednesday he lined up with Durham's 2nds against Northants at Finedon Dolben and scored 67 off 77 balls as well as pouching three catches.

Barry McCarthy scored 2 and bowled 6-0-20-1 in a five wicket victory. The following they they batted for just 35 overs against Worcestershire at Kidderminster, scoring 283-5 before the game was abandoned.

Poynter was the only one of the Irishmen to bat, making an unbeaten 2. He was also in action for Boldon against Washington in the North East Premier League, where he didn't keep wicket but batted No.3 and made 46 off 78 balls.

Barry McCarthy scored 51 for Gateshead Fell in the same compettion against Blaydon but did not bowl.

Bobby Gamble played for his home club of Plumtree in Nottinghamshire last weekend, but didnít bat or bowl as they made 311-4 and rolled Clifton Village for 66. On Monday he was back with Somerset 2nds against Surrey at Taunton Vale, where he took two wickets in his opening spell including former England player Vikram Solanki.

He finished with 7-1-37-2. The following three-day game was abandoned early, but not before he claimed Solanki again, for 97, in 15-2-60-3, followed by figures of 3-0-8-1 before the game was called off after five overs of the 2nd innings.

Mark Adair played twice for Moseley in the English National T20 Club competition, last weekend. He scored 30* off 18 balls in the win over Shrewsbury, although his single over went for 20. Moseley then lost to Walsall in the regional final despite Adair's 24 off 20 balls.

In the Southern Premier League Andy Gorvin made 31 for the Hampshire Cricket Academy against St Cross Symondians.

The Varsity match used to be one of the great occasions of the English summer but has declined since it stopped being played at Lord's. This year Cambridge won on day three, with their two Irishmen in action.

Ben Wylie took 5-1-10-0 and 14-8-14-3, while scoring 26 and 1 not out. Patrick Tice scored 7 and made one stumping.