Sunday 25 February 2018

Cricket: It's 100 not out for Porterfield


WILLIAM PORTERFIELD was unable to celebrate his 100th appearance for Ireland with a victory on Thursday night, but saw plenty to encourage him after losing by six wickets to the West Indies at Sabina Park in Jamaica.

An Ireland total of 219 from 50 overs was looking a decent score as the hosts lost wickets in the first 10 balls of their reply and it took an unbeaten century by Ramnaresh Sarwan to get the Windies home with only six balls to spare.

Half-centuries from Kevin O'Brien and Paul Stirling, and a typically-gutsy 49 from Niall O'Brien, were the meat of the Ireland innings, with the younger O'Brien hoisting two sixes on his way to a top score of 54.

With the World Twenty20 tournament starting in less than two weeks, Porterfield would have been delighted that Peter Connell and Trent Johnston continued their happy knack of taking first-over wickets to leave the home side rocking on 9-2 before a rain storm interrupted play for an hour.

Leinster teenager George Dockrell took a return catch from Wavell Hinds to give Ireland further hope after the target was revised to 213 from 45 overs, but the vastly experienced Sarwan steered the Windies home with 100 not out from 119 balls.

MARK KENNEALLY is a late withdrawal from tomorrow's Spar Great Ireland Run as he is opting to concentrate on a 10,000m track race in America where he will be chasing a European Championship qualifying time.

Hayley Yelling and Deirdre Byrne (injured) have also withdrawn. They will be replaced by Scotland's Freya Murray and British international Jo Pavey.

Top seed Novak Djokovic eased past an out-of-sorts David Nalbandian to reach the Monte Carlo Masters semi-finals and stay on course for a possible re-run of last year's final against Rafael Nadal.

The Serb took advantage of a raft of Nalbandian errors, particularly in the first set, to win 6-2 6-3 and set up a semi-final showdown with Fernando Verdasco, who overcame compatriot Albert Montanes 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-0.

Nadal beat compatriot Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-4 6-2 and will now meet another Spaniard, David Ferrer, a 7-5 7-6 (7-1) winner over Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Belgian Niko Eeckhout, the star performer of the An Post Kelly team, is facing a month off the road after a scan yesterday showed that he had fractured a rib.

Eeckhout, who has been in great form for the Sean Kelly outfit, complained of a sharp pain in his back after yesterday's Grand Prix de Denain in France. Team manager Kurt Bogaerts believes the injury occurred from the crash last week at the Grand Prix Pino Cermani.

Irish Independent

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