DLCA scholars feature in Ireland A vs Bangladesh A – ODI series
A series composed of ODI matches, Ireland and Bangladesh sent their A squads to face off in a closely contested tournament. As hosts, Ireland would play Bangladesh in matches spread between Wicklow and Dublin. Despite being listed as an unofficial ICC tournament, both nations were not taking the contest lightly, utilising the series to test and assess different players for the future. Cricket Ireland’s Chair of Selectors Andrew White stated, “These Wolves matches fit into the longer-term planning of the senior management team building towards the World T20 Qualifier in 2019”.
Over the past decade, Cricket Ireland have forged a close partnership with the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy (DLCA) and have seen multiple players train in Adelaide, Australia. The Ireland A squad to take on Bangladesh A consisted of 3 DLCA scholars, Stuart Thompson (2016/17), James McCollum (2017/18) and Shane Getkate (2010).
Despite the first ODI match at Oak Hill Cricket Club in Wicklow ending in a draw due to poor weather, the remainder of the series shaped up to be a thriller. The second match played at the same venue began with a commanding 289 run first innings from Bangladesh, in which Ireland’s top order saw a collapse and inevitably failed to chase down the total.
Entering the third match at 1-0, Ireland desperately needed to step up. Winning the toss and electing to bat first, the top order once again failed to make a stand. Thankfully swing bowling allrounder and DLCA scholar Stuart Thompson came to the rescue and posted a solid 69 from 91 balls. Head Coach of the DLCA Shaun Seigert described Thompson as “a very aggressive type, which is reflected in a man in a hurry. Everything was on fast forward for him, it was all about scoring runs”. His partner at the other end varied between Andy McBrine and other DLCA scholar Shane Getkate. The trio proved to be the backbone of the Ireland team who won by 34 runs.
Game four was extremely high scoring, however dominated from the outset by Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque. As the series had now switched to being played in Dublin, the Tigers batsman scored a phenomenal 182 from 133 balls, leading his team to a total score of 386. Although Ireland failed to win the match, DLCA scholars James McCollum (43) and Stuart Thompson (42) were pivotal in the run chase.
Heading into the fifth and final match, Bangladesh held a 2-1 lead. Although a series victory was out of Ireland’s hands, the team were not settling for defeat. A five-wicket haul from local fast bowler Peter Chase and an impressive 160 not out from batsman Andrew Balbirnie helped seal a draw for Ireland in the ODI series.