|European Under 19 (Division 1) Championship: Scotland, August 2008|
Balbirnie stars in nine wicket Ireland win
Defending champions Ireland have got their title defence off to a fantastic start with a nine wicket win over the Netherlands at Greenock.
Ireland won the toss and put the Netherlands into bat. Steven De Bruin scored 14 opening the batting, before he fell with only his runs on the board. Mels Hartman and Bob Entrop then put on 67 for the second wicket, aided by several wides from the Irish bowlers.
After that partnership, Ireland tightened the reins and some economical bowling from captain Andrew Balbirnie - eleven runs from his ten overs - and 3/21 from John Blakiston-Houston kept the Dutch score down, and captain Graeme Davey was the only other Dutch batsman to get a start, top-scoring with 34 as the Netherlands were bowled out for 139.
Ireland set about their run chase quickly, attacking the spin bowling, and captain Balbirnie led from the front with a fine unbeaten 63, putting on 84 for the first wicket with Adrian D'Arcy as Ireland reached their target of 140 in exactly 35 overs, winning by nine wickets.
Ireland will play Denmark tomorrow at the West of Scotland Cricket Club, whilst the Netherlands will again be at Greenock, playing Scotland.