|European Under 17 (Division 1) Championship: Northern Ireland, July 2008|
Third-place play-off abandoned as Denmark claim fifth
In the third- and fourth-place play-off at Bangor today, Guernsey had been on course to set up an intriguing second half against the Nertherlands when the rain finally put paid to things just before 5pm, local time.
Largely thanks to Thomas Kirk's brutal half-century (50 exactly from no more than 33 balls!), the Channel Islanders had compiled 149 for 6 with five overs left in this overs-reduced encounter at Upritchard Park.
For the Dutch, Emile van den Burg had been both penetrative and economical with the ball, taking 2 for 19 from six overs, and that the elements intervened unfortunately prevented there being a potentially riveting conclusion to this match.
But while the teams on the coast may have been frustrated by the weather, at Saintfield the fifth- and sixth-place play-off between Denmark and Jersey was completed without much interruption, Denmark running out as winners of an excellent contest by two wickets.
Having elected to bat first, Jersey posted a decent toal of 209, with Ben Stephens (43) and Sam de la Haye (38) making significant contributions. De la Haye also shared in a solid opening stand of 68 with Ben de Figuereido.
No bowler for Denmark took more than a solitary wicket, but Ahsen Choudary Naim was impressively economical with the new ball, going for just seven runs from his six overs, and even that included four wides!
In response, Denmark had reached the enviable situation of needing only 65 runs with seven wickets in hand, but losing three wickets for seven runs reduced the Danes to 148 for 7, thus swinging the balance of the match back into Jersey's favour.
However, that Shehzad Ahmed's was not one of those three wickets to fall was crucial, for it was he who played the match-winning innings and guided the tail and his team home with only two wickets in hand and nine balls to spare. Ahmed finished unbeaten on 61, a knock which included two fours and three sixes.
Of the Jersey bowlers, Aiden McGuire picked up two wickets as the tension heightened in the latter part of the chase, while Ben Stephens deserves a special mention: the slow-left-armer conceded only seventeen runs from his full quota of overs.
Ultimately, although Jersey finished without a victory, that both they and Guernsey proved themselves to be competitve - not to mention, with respect to Guernsey's match against Denmark, capable of winning - at this level is an extremely important conclusion to be drawn from this tournament, and their performances bode well for the future of cricket on the Channel Islands.