Ireland Women have progressed to the next stage of qualification for the 2013 Women's World Cup following a three-wicket win over the Netherlands, who will play Scotland to decide who joins them after day two of the Women's European Championships in Scotland.
Ireland had a major scare before getting home by three wickets in the ODI against The Netherlands. Facing a Dutch total of just 125, they collapsed to 85 for seven before an eighth-wicket partnership of 37 between Isobel Joyce and Louise McCarthy saw them home to victory in the 40th over.
The damp, cloudy, conditions at the start meant the Irish had no hesitation in asking The Netherlands to bat first. The Dutch went off at a fast pace but in doing so lost both openers, Wattenberg and De Groot. A third wicket soon followed with the score on 38. Three wickets then fell in the sixties to leave the Dutch innings tottering at 66 for six, as Louise McCarthy claimed two victims in a spell of five overs in which she conceded just six runs.
However, the seventh wicket partnership of Denise Hannema and Esther Lanser added 31 before another pair of wickets fell in quick succession. It was left to the last wicket pair of Braat and Kornet to bat out the remaining overs to enable their side to post a final total of 125.
Given that Ireland had chased down 161 against Scotland on Monday, it didn't appear that this would be a target that might test the Irish batting line-up. But once again an opener was run out. Laura Delany was beaten by Helmien Rambaldo's throw; she was soon followed back by Eimear Richardson and Jill Whelan as Ireland faltered at 29 for three.
However, Emma Beamish and Melissa Scott-Hayward steadied the innings and took the score to 74 before another wicket fell. But, when Scott-Hayward was caught by Lanser a mini-collapse took place as Kim Garth went for a duck and then Emma Beamish (18) was caught by Rambaldo. 76 for six and the Dutch were back in the game. When Heather Whelan was run out nine runs later, the Dutch appeared to be favourites to win.
The experience of Isobel Joyce was to prove to be the difference between the two sides as she, with excellent support from Louise McCarthy, kept out the good deliveries and took advantage of anything loose. The two kept their composure to steer their side home - the winning runs coming from two wide deliveries. Indeed, the Dutch bowlers gave away 26 wides, which was undoubtedly a major factor in their inability to defend their own total.
Joyce's 36 had seen the Irish home to a victory that sealed their progress to the next stage of the World Cup qualification process and leaves the Dutch needing to defeat Scotland.
In the day’s other match the ECB Development XI bounced back from their defeat against The Netherlands on Monday with a comprehensive victory over Scotland by 9 wickets. Chasing a meagre target of 116, they cruised home in just under 20 overs as Kathryn Doherty and Fran Wilson put together a rapid, unbeaten, partnership of 114.
On winning the toss the ECB side had no hesitation in asking Scotland to bat in dull and cool conditions. They struck immediately as Scottish opener Dickson was run out before she had faced a single delivery. Another run out soon ensued when batting mainstay Kari Anderson failed to beat the throw from Westbury. The next nine overs produced just nine runs until Leigh Kasperek was caught off Alice MacLeod to reduce Scotland to 28 for three.
The next partnership was to prove to be the most successful of the innings as Kathryn White and Catherine Smaill put on 41. White fell lbw for 23 to become the first of three victims for Kathryn Doherty. Wickets fell rapidly as Scotland ended up on just 115 in the 48th over.
Doherty finished with three for 15 while Alice MacLeod bowled her ten over quota, conceding just 19 runs.
The ECB innings began in identical fashion to the Scottish one as Alice MacLeod was run out by Leigh Kasperek without having taken strike. But that was to be Scotland's only success as Kathryn Doherty and Fran Wilson took complete control. Wilson completed her second successive half century in 54 balls while Doherty was on 49 when the winning runs were hit.
The ECB Development XI will meet Ireland tomorrow in a match which will decide the destination of the European Championship title, while Scotland will meet The Netherlands to determine who takes the second World Cup Qualifying place.
Score summaries (day three):
At Stirling (Pitch 1): Netherlands 125-9, 50 overs (Rambaldo 22; McCarthy 2-6; Whelan 2-29)
Ireland 126-7, 39.1 overs (Joyce 36 not out; Braat 2-30)
Ireland won by 3 wickets
At Stirling (Pitch 2): Scotland 114, 47.4 overs (White 23; Smaill 22; Doherty 3-18, Westbury 2-7)
ECB Development XI 117-1, 19.5 overs (Wilson 53 not out; Doherty 49 not out)
ECB Development XI won by 9 wickets
Standings: Ireland 4 points, ECB Development XI, Netherlands 2 points, Scotland 0 points