Ireland began the European Women's World Cup qualifying competition in Stirling with a comfortable victory over Scotland by five wickets. Ireland had more than 13 overs to spare as they passed their target of 161.
Scotland were put in to bat and got off to a very slow start against accurate bowling by the Whelans, Heather and Jill. Catherine Smaill soon fell leg before to Heather and then two wickets fell in quick succession to leave Scotland 31 for three after 17 overs.
However, it was to be a long time before Ireland had any further success as the remainder of the Scottish innings belonged to skipper Kari Anderson, who made an unbeaten 86 from 148 balls. Her partnership with Kathryn White began slowly but gradually gained in momentum as they put on 103 before White (four boundaries) was bowled by Jill Whelan int he 46th over.
Anderson's innings included nine fours and the final total of 160 for five wickets had given her side a final tally that had, for a long period, seemed unlikely. Most economical of the Irish bowlers was Jill Whelan, whose ten overs conceded just 25 runs.
Ireland lost their first wicket at 15 when Delany was bowled by Leigh Kasperek. Isobel Joyce joined Eimear Richardson and they advanced the total to 36 int he 12th over before Joyce was caught by Tams. When the third wicket, that of Jill Whelan, fell at 62 in the 16th over the match seemed to be well-poised. However, Richardson had other ideas and she began to score freely all round the wicket. By the time she was dismissed in the 34th over, for a well-compiled 66 (including nine boundaries) her side was within 12 runs of victory.
On the adjacent ground at New Williamfield, an unbeaten century by Caroline Salomons was the highlight of The Netherland's six wickets win against the ECB Development XI.
Having won the toss, the Dutch must have wondered about the wisdom of asking their opponents to bat first when the ECB side rattled up 244 in their 50 overs. But Salomons, with excellent support from Helmien Rambaldo and Marijn Nijman, completely dominated the bowling, reaching her century as she struck the match-winning boundary with more than three overs to spare.
The ECB innings began with both openers falling lbw to Mariska Kornett and Marloes Braat. Braat followed up by dismissing Jo Cook for nought and Esther Lanser gained another lbw victim as the ECB struggled to 34 for four. This brought Fran Wilson and Beth MacGregor together and they changed the complexion of the game completely as they put together a highly entertaining partnership of 122 before Wislon was dismissed for 76, made in just 85 balls and including 12 boundaries.
MacGregor continued on with good support from the lower order before she was ninth out, in the final over, for 89. She had struck eight boundaries in her 109.
The Dutch innings began quietly but soon started to build up the pace with some good stroke play and running between the wickets. Violet Warrenburg fell at 26, followed by Caroline de Groot at 46. At this stage Salomons entered the scene to partner Rambaldo and the two added 107 in even time as they took total control over the ECB bowlers.
Rambaldo eventually fell to Westbury for 44 but this didn't stem the flow of the Dutch innings as Nijman then joined Salomons and immediately set about the bowling, making a quick-fire 34. By the time she was well caught by a diving Hannah Phelps, only four more runs were required and it was appropriate that Salomons should bring up her hundred and win the match with her ninth boundary. Her century had taken just 98 balls.
Score summaries (day one):
At Stirling (Pitch 1): Scotland 160-3, 50 overs (Anderson 86 not out; White 39)
Ireland 161-5, 36.4 overs (Richardson 66; Aitken 3-38)
Ireland won by 5 wickets
At Stirling (Pitch 2): ECB Development XI 244 all out, 49.5 overs (McGregor 89; Wilson 76; Braat 3-33)
Netherlands 245-4, 46.3 overs (Salomons 100 not out; Rambaldo 44; Nijman 34)
Netherlands won by 6 wickets
Standings after one match: Ireland, Netherlands 2 points, Scotland, ECB Development XI 0