Ireland's cricketers emerge victorious

Kevin O’Brien hit an unbeaten 98 to lead Ireland to a six-wicket victory over Scotland as they defended their Division One title in the final of the World Cricket League in Amstelveen.

Kevin O’Brien hit an unbeaten 98 to lead Ireland to a six-wicket victory over Scotland as they defended their Division One title in the final of the World Cricket League in Amstelveen.

Scotland collapsed after an opening stand of 141 between Preston Mommsen (80) and Fraser Watts – who eventually fell two short of a century – and they were bowled out for 232 when a far bigger total had seemed on the cards.

And Ireland never looked in any serious trouble as O’Brien combined with Andrew White (79) to knock off the bulk of the runs in a fourth-wicket partnership of 160.

It was just reward for Ireland, who went unbeaten through the competition having also beaten Scotland earlier in the campaign.

The Scots, meanwhile, were left to rue an extraordinary capitulation which all but handed the game to their opponents.

They looked set to post a truly testing total as their openers racked up 141 in a little over 30 overs.

The pair took the score past 50 at a relatively sedate pace but it was Mommsen who started to up the rate when he plundered 14 runs off one Nigel Jones over.

He smashed a six off George Dockrell shortly after reaching his half-century but was out when he edged O’Brien behind.

That precipitated an extraordinary cascade of wickets, with seven falling for just 28 runs before Watts finally found another willing partner in captain Gordon Drummond.

He scored a brisk 30 in a partnership of 57 but was bowled by Alex Cusack, and Watts fell to Jones soon after.

In reply, Ireland lost Andrew Balbirnie and Cusack cheaply while Paul Stirling (31) kept the score moving at the other end.

He was bowled by Drummond with the score on 51, but that brought O’Brien and White together – and they never looked back.

They were perfectly happy to take it slow, at one point scoring just two runs in four overs, but White took two fours off one Drummond over, then did the same to Moneeb Iqbal and Richie Berrington as the rate increased.

When he was out to Gordon Goudie with the score on 211 the only question was whether O’Brien would reach 100.

John Mooney got in the way of that particular ambition by scoring a quick unbeaten 12, but O’Brien did at least have the satisfaction of scoring the winning run.

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