Cricket: White's classy knock shines bright as Irish lose out to West Indies 'A'
ANDREW WHITE struck a classy 75 at Stormont yesterday to remind the Ireland selectors that he is still a force at the top level -- but his runs could not prevent West Indies 'A' easing to a 50-run victory in the first of two 50-over matches.
All-rounder White, 29, has become a peripheral figure in the national squad in the past year, but he took centre stage with the bat yesterday as a severely weakened Ireland team replied to the tourist's 251 all out.
After Ireland had lost half its line-up for 70 -- including first-time skipper Kevin O'Brien for seven -- White and Alex Cusack gave the home crowd some hope with a sixth-wicket partnership of 72 from 13.1 overs.
Cusack was lbw for 15 -- one of six victims for Andre Russell -- and all hope was gone when White also fell to the man-of-the-match, bowled attempting to strike an eighth boundary through the offside at the start of the batting power play.
Things had looked rosy for Ireland as opening bowlers O'Brien and Phil Eaglestone made the most of some early movement to reduce the Windies to 28-4, but half-centuries from Assad Fudadin, Kevin Stoute and Russell set a competitive target.
While the West Indies were officially an 'A' team, Ireland were just that in all but name, with perhaps only three of yesterday's starting line-up automatic choices for the first XI.
Coach Phil Simmons gave international debuts to wicketkeeper Rory McCann, who was unlucky to tread on his stumps early in the reply, and Albert van der Merwe, from The Hills club, who struck the only six in Ireland's 201 all out.
Railway Union all-rounder Trent Johnston is expected to captain Ireland in tomorrow's second game after recovering from a thumb injury he picked up facing Australia in last week's defeat.