Scotland Team. ©Twitter/Cricket Scotland

A majestic century from Sarah Bryce guided Scotland Academy to a thrilling one-wicket win over Ireland Academy in the first one-day match at Rush Cricket Club in Dublin on Tuesday (July 23). The visitors chased down a mammoth 251 after Rachel Delaney caused a middle order collapse taking six wickets in only 9.1 overs.

After the early dismissal of Megan McColl for a duck, Bryce set up the chase with a 91-run stand alongside K Mills who scored a valuable 37. Ellen Watson hung around for a while, striking three boundaries in her 36-ball 23. She forged 69-run partnership for the third wicket alongside Bryce, who continued to be the aggressor. Watson’s dismissal with the score at 169 saw the start of the Delaney show.

The Ireland off-spinner picked up consecutive wickets to dismiss Alisa Lister and Charis Scott to suddenly reduce the hosts to 197 for 5, still requiring 54 runs for victory. After striking two sixes, Abbi Aitkin (17) didn’t last much longer, becoming Delaney’s third wicket of the day.

In the meantime, Bryce brought up her century. The Scotland Academy captain looked to be the only thing standing between Ireland and a win, so until she was out there, the hosts knew they were in for a fight.

With 21 runs to get Delaney struck the biggest blow of the day, removing Bryce for a 109-ball 127 including 16 fours and two sixes. She had  set up the chase for Scotland Academy, but needed the lower order to finish it off. 239 for 7 soon became 244 for 9 with Delaney having accounted for six of the wickets to fall.

Scotland’s last wicket pair of Katherine Fraser and Abtaha Maqsood held their nerve to get their team over the line with 22 balls to spare.

Delaney finished with figures of 6 for 58, while Hannah Little, MacMahon and J Maguire took one wicket apiece.

Earlier, having won the toss and chosen to bat, Ireland failed to make most of the decision. They lost wickets at regular intervals to be reduced to 130 for 6 at one point. Only two of the top five – Leah Paul and Delaney, who scored 38 and 36 respectively – got into double figures.

It wasn’t until Amy Hunter (28), Cara Murray (22) and Sophie MacMahon provided the acceleration at the back end that Ireland found some impetus in the innings. MacMahon scored a 45-ball 52 including eight fours at number eight to lift Ireland’s score to 251 in 49.4 overs.

Aitkin was Scotland’s most successful bowler with figures of 3 for 43. Fraser and Maqsood took 2 wickets as well.