|European Under 17 (Division 2) Championship: Isle of Man, July 2008|
Belgium confirm final place, Spain finish second
Belgium confirmed their superiority in Group B with an eight-wicket win over Switzerland in Bonn, while Spain claimed second place – and a place in the third-place play-off against Israel – by defeating neighbours Gibraltar by 69 runs at JHQ2.
Any hopes of Belgium getting much batting practice before tomorrow's final were dashed when Switzerland won the toss and decided to bat.
The difference between the two sides became quite obvious during the day, although the Swiss got off to a reasonable start, only losing their second wicket at 45. But after the fall of the fourth wicket at 69 the batting began to fall apart, the two final wickets falling on 99 after 35.4 overs.
The Belgians relied on a lot of spin from Jamie Farmiloe and Mark Weighill and they took five wickets between them, with Farmiloe best with three for 14.
Edward Still took the last two wickets with the only four balls he bowled. Only two Swiss batsmen managed double figures. The episode of the day was the fact that Kuster was given out leg-before in mid-air as he was trying to avoid the ball, but he was plumb.
Switzerland were jubilant when Belgium lost captain Sebastian Shukla with 24 on the board, but although the opening bowlers could move the ball in the air and beat the bat several times only one more wicket fell before the Belgians passed Switzerland's total.
Ashkar Mehta made a fluent 50 not out with a couple of scares thrown in with 4 fours and a six. The Belgians only needed 20.4 overs to complete their eight-wicket victory.
Spain found the going hard early on against the Gibraltarian bowlers, and the fact that they managed to reach 171 for six owed much to Matthew Winter, who hit a valuable not-out 57, made off 65 balls with seven boundaries.
Winter came to the wicket with Spain on 64 for four, and it was his innings which turned the match around, ensuring that his side set a substantial target.
Karan Sadhwani and Max Pizarro took two wickets each for Gibraltar, while Sadhwani was also responsible for running out Spain’s Michael Garside.
Gibraltar reached 30 in their reply without losing a wicket, but then saw four fall without addition to the score, Garside beginning the rot by removing Scott Chipolina and Andre Sivier then taking three in quick succession.
The Spanish bowlers were now on top, and despite dogged resistance from Sadhwani and some later aggression from Kayron Stagno, the Gibraltar batsmen could not get any further than 102.
Sivier finished with three for 12, while Christian Muñoz-Mills took three for 10 – all of them from wides. It’s been that kind of week.