Ireland lost the third and final match of their series against England in Abu Dhabi but it was a much improved display by Aaron Hamilton’s young charges from which they can take great heart going into next week’s Quadrangular tournament in South Africa.
A solid batting effort saw five of the top score reach double figures, with opener Mary Waldron (23) sharing a stand of 60 with skipper Laura Delany (33) after the early wicket of Leah Paul.
Shauna Kavanagh (22) and Gaby Lewis (16) both chipped in with useful cameos, but it was Jenny Gray who held the innings together.
The YMCA all-rounder marshalled the lower order well, top scoring with an unbeaten 39 from 51 balls (4 fours) which allowed the Girls IN Green to post 168 for 8 – comfortably their highest total of the week.
Kate Cross (3-35) was best of the English attack.
Leinster bowler Amy Kenealy (1-10) bowled superbly, dismissing Emma Lamb (19) in a tight opening spell, courtesy of a sharp catch by Aoife Beggs.
Shauna Kavanagh then had Hollie Armitage (12) caught behind by Mary Waldron to give the Irish hope at 52 for 2
However, Dani Wyatt smashed 16 boundaries in a brilliant 82 not out from just 60 balls as England quickly regained control.
Wyatt shared an unbroken third wicket partnership of 117 in 89 balls with Alice Davidson-Richards, who hit 45 from just 41 deliveries (4 fours, 1 six), as England won by 8 wickets in the 26th over.
Ireland Head Coach Aaron Hamilton reflected on the series saying: “Today was certainly a much improved performance, certainly with the bat.
“We’ve spoken and worked on a lot about our batting this week and Mary (Waldron) came out and did the job at the top and Jenny (Gray) did really well in the middle order.
“We’ve introduced a lot of young players into the squad this week and gave a debut today to another 13 year-old, Louise Little, who can only learn playing against opposition of this pedigree.
“As a whole this has been a very encouraging performance today, and has put us in a good place getting on the plane to South Africa. We’ve learned some very good lessons over the past three games and we will take that forward into the South African tournament.”
Jenny Gray was pleased to contribute with the bat after a recent lean spell, and felt the week was very worthwhile for the young team.
“I think we’ve definitely improved as the series has gone. We didn’t use all our allocation of overs in the first two matches, so today that was a big positive for us to bat the full fifty overs.
“From a personal perspective I was very happy with how it went, I managed to rotate the strike nicely, and finally get a few runs.
“I think we’ve learned a lot from this three-match series – especially the younger players. It hasn’t being easy dealing with the heat and conditions here (temperatures topped 41 degrees celsius this week), but I thought we acquitted ourselves well. We’re really looking forward to take that momentum to South Africa for the Quadrangular Series there.”
At The Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Ireland Women 168-8 (50 overs; J Gray 39*, L Delany 33, M Waldron 23, S Kavanagh 22, K Cross 3-35)
England Women XI 169-2 (26 overs; D Wyatt 82*, A Davison-Richards 45*)
England won by 8 wickets