|European Under 17 (Division 1) Championship: Northern Ireland, July 2008|
Anxious moments for Scotland in victory over Denmark
Scotland got their European Under 17 campaign off to a winning start with an eight-wicket victory over Denmark at Holywood CC. However, their were some anxious moments for the defending champions in the latter stages of the game. Chasing a target of 194, they had a ninth wicket partnership of 32 between Sam Hunt and Willie Rowan to thank as the struggled to build partnerships throughout the chase.
Scotland won the toss and decided to field on a wicket which promised to give the bowlers some early assistance. The Danish openers struggled to make headway and with the score at 17 Matthew Bremner removed both Hamid Shah and Zameer Khan. The first ten overs saw just 26 runs scored, of which just nine came from the bat. Imtiaz Ali and Christian Peck-Thorsted took the score to 54 when the latter was run out going for a suicidal second run. Imtiaz then folowed quickly and Denmark were in trouble at 62 for four.
However, the middle order of Shehzad Ahmed, Taha Ahmed and Hasan Rashid combined to pull things round. Shehzad produced a very stylish knock of 42 from 70 balls, including four fours and a massive six. Taha Ahmed contributed 22 before falling to a magnificent running catch by Hairs.
Denmark completed their 50 overs with eight wickets down for 193, Rashid finishing unbeaten on 31, while extras contributed 51 in all to the score, including 37 wides, something which must have given the Scottish coaching staff much cause for concern. Willie Rowan finished as leading wicket taker, claiming 3 for 37 in his ten overs.
In reply Scotland set off very aggressively, reaching 26 off just three overs including a six over long off from Oliver Hairs. Together with Freddie Coleman, Hairs took the score to 44 before Coleman was trapped in front by Kamran Mahmood. Wickets then continued to fall regularly as the Scottish batsman played some rash strokes as they continued to attack the bowling. When skipper Calvin Burnett fell to Mahmood for 14, Scotland were struggling at 109 for five wickets.
Sam Hunt was now at the crease and he was to prove the major figure in the latter half of the innings. Partners came and went at regular intervals to leave Scotland in danger of a shock defeat at 162 for eight.
However, Willie Rowan proved to be the person for a crisis and he helped Hunt steer their team home in the 48th over. Apart from a run out opportunity missed by the Danes, the pair batted sensibly and otherwise chancelessly as the Danish bowled lost some of its mid-innings discipline. Again extras helped the batsmen's cause, totalling 46 this time, including 31 wides.
Hunt finished on 54 not out from 93 balls while Mahmood was the most successful of the bowlers taking three wickets for 31.