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Friday 23 March 2018

Cricket: Eastwood faces pressure debut

IRELAND take on Holland in Rathmines today knowing that only a victory will keep alive their slim hopes of extending a five-year reign as Intercontinental Cup holders.

Halfway through six qualifying matches, the three-times champions have suffered draws against Scotland and Kenya, and a defeat by Afghanistan.

Even maximum-points victories against the Dutch, Canada and Zimbabwe may not be enough to earn a place in November's final.

No pressure on Allan Eastwood then, as the 30-year-old Pembroke seamer makes his full international debut as the latest recruit to Ireland's fast bowling ranks.

Eastwood performed well for Ireland 'A' against the MCC last week and gets his chance thanks to injuries and a good word from former national coach Adrian Birrell. With Boyd Rankin not released by his county -- and both Craig Young and Phil Eaglestone beset by injuries -- Eastwood will take the new ball with 36-year-old captain Trent Johnston.

IRELAND -- Trent Johnston (capt) (Railway Union), Alex Cusack (Clontarf), George Dockrell (Leinster), James Hall (Waringstown), John Mooney (North County), Kevin O'Brien (Railway Union), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Albert van der Merwe (The Hills), Andrew White (Instonians), Gary Wilson (Surrey), Allan Eastwood (Pembroke).

Irish Independent

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