U19 World Cup Plate Quarter-Final, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Christchurch
Ireland 278-8 in 50 overs (Neil Rock 91, Harry Tector 69, Mark Donegan 38; Jeavor Royal 3-59, Ronaldo Alimohamed 2-31)
Windies 281-6 in 48.2 overs (Nyeem Young 55 not out, Bhaskar Yadram 53, Emmanuel Stewart 50, Kirstan Kallicharan 46)
West Indies beat Ireland by 4 wickets
Half centuries from Neil Rock and Harry Tector weren't enough to prevent Ireland's Under 19's losing their Plate quarter-final against West Indies in Christchurch.
Batting first, opener Mark Donegan struck seven boundaries in a fluent 38 from just 36 balls, but his dismissal saw three wickets fall for just seven runs to put West Indies in the ascendancy, but Rock together with Tector steadied the ship with a combination of excellent running between the wickets and some magnificent strokeplay.
Rush left-hander Neil Rock top scored with 91 while Tector hit 69 as the pair added 116 in 23 overs to rescue the Boys In Green from a precarious 76 for 4.
Tector hit eight boundaries in his 69 from 76 balls, while Rock just missed out on a deserved century, falling in the last over having hit nine fours and one six in his 91 from 101 deliveries, while Josh Little made a typically belligerent 24 from just 21 balls (3 fours, 1 six) as Ireland posted 278 for 8.
What looked like a defendable total wasn't to be however as the West Indies punished anything remotely loose by the Irish attack and were always well ahead of the required rate.
Bhaskar Yadram (53) set the tone for the reply, hitting 8 boundaries as he dominated an opening stand of 75, eventually ended by Morgan Topping (1-40).
Max Neville (2-53), coupled with run-outs by Aaron Cawley and Harry Tector gave the Irish brief hope, but consistent batting ensured the West Indians reached their target with ten balls to spare, although they were helped by several uncharacteristic lapses in the field which were to cost the Irish dearly.
Emmanuel Stewart (50), Kristan Kallicharran (46) and Nyeem Young (55*) all struck the ball cleanly, with Young's half century coming off just 33 balls (8 fours, 1 six) which saw him awarded the Man-of-the-Match award.
The loss was doubly painful for the Irish as only the top 11 Full Members were guaranteed automatic qualification for the 2020 tournament, meaning they will have to go through the ICC Europe qualifying competition process next summer.
Assistant Coach Pete Johnston reflected on the loss, ruing missed opportunities in the last crucial phase of the contest.
"The players are hurting after what might have been had we been able to capitalise on critical moments in todays game," said Johnston. "All tournament bar one game we have stuck to task with our batting and set games up well to come home strong at the death. Harry Tector and 'Pebbles’ (Neil Rock) again converted a big partnership to put us in a strong position.
"I thought, Bhaskar Yadram came out and played a positive innings up front for them which had us on the back foot, however Morgan Topping bowled very well and managed to get the breakthrough and complete 10 economical overs to bring us back into the game, along with good spells from Little and Tector.
"Having got back into the game with the West Indies at 194 –5 going into the last 11 overs, the frustrating thing about today is that we let ourselves down in the field and failed to take our chances. At this level, you cannot give the opposition so many chances and expect to win, Bert Sutcliffe Oval is a very unforgiving ground and so it proved with some powerful hitting at the back end by Nyeem Young to see them home in what was another very competitive and entertaining game against a top nation," added Johnston.
"We have now played England (warm ups), Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the West Indies all of which have been our only games of the Winter. These games and some good performances along with the win against Asia Cup Champions Afghanistan should stand to the lads in our next two play-off games and I’ve no doubt we can finish strong. Credit today to our captain Harry Tector, who with bat, ball and in the field had an outstanding game leading from the front, along with 17 year-old vice-captain Neil Rock who fell just short of a 100 and has shown maturity beyond his years in the last two games."
Ireland's next game in the competition is against Papua New Guinea on Thursday in a placings match in Christchurch.