Windies secure ODI series win over Ireland after thrilling finish

By Sports Desk January 09, 2020

West Indies claimed an ODI series win over Ireland after a thrilling one-wicket victory in Bridgetown on Thursday.

In an extraordinary finish at Kensington Oval, the Windies went past their target of 238 with one ball remaining in the second ODI.

Sheldon Cottrell hit a six off the second last ball of the innings to give the hosts a 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

But Ireland were left to lament what could have been after an incredible finish to the contest.

Paul Stirling (63) had guided Ireland to 237-9 after they elected to bat first, with Alzarri Joseph (4-32) again starring for the Windies.

Rain delays impacted the Windies' chase as Nicholas Pooran (52) and Kieron Pollard (40) looked to have them on track for victory.

Hayden Walsh made an unbeaten 46, but it still took a nervy finish for the hosts to get over the line.

Ireland almost found a decisive run out off the third ball of the final over, but replays were inconclusive as to whether Mark Adair broke the stumps with the ball or his hands with Cottrell well short of his ground.

They should have sealed victory off the next ball after a mix up between Walsh and Cottrell but, with both batsmen almost stranded at one end, the latter recovered after Adair was unable to cleanly take a throw.

That would be Ireland's last chance as Cottrell smashed a six over covers off the next ball to clinch victory.

The final game of the series is at St George's on Saturday.

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    Owen Farrell insists England's rip-roaring start in their Six Nations win over Ireland was not a response to any outside pressure.

    England began their campaign with a poor showing in a defeat against France in Paris before grinding out a victory over Scotland amid tough Edinburgh conditions in round two.

    Back at Twickenham against an Ireland side who had started with two wins from two, England earned a deserved 24-12 triumph over a visiting team coached by Farrell's father Andy.

    Eddie Jones' men had come under scrutiny following a mixed start, while the head coach was initially questioned and subsequently vindicated for his decision to move centre Jonathan Joseph to the wing and continue with flanker Tom Curry at number eight.

    "It's pressure from everybody else, not us," England captain Farrell said when asked about the outside voices.

    "We're unbelievably happy with how things are in-house. We feel we are getting better and couldn't wait to play this game.

    "I think you saw that from the way we started the game. It's nothing to do with anyone on the outside. We are giving ourselves lots of confidence to rip in come kick-off."

    England were boosted by the return of powerhouse centre Manu Tuilagi, a player Farrell feels would make a difference to any team in world rugby.

    "You don't need me to tell you [how important he is]," Farrell added.

    "Any team in the world would want him by your side, we're lucky to have him. He's playing brilliant rugby."

    England led 17-0 at the break with George Ford and Elliot Daly the beneficiaries of some shoddy Ireland defending, while Luke Cowan-Dickie touched down from an England drive in the second half.

    Part of England's success owed to their dominance of the forwards, with the returning Courtney Lawes earning the man-of-the-match award.

    "We knew Ireland were on good form and we came out flying, we put an emphasis on that all week. It was great to get out here with the boys," Lawes said.

    "Any chance I get to put on the shirt, especially at my old age, I relish it. We just want to keep building, the goal is to be the best team the world has ever seen."

  • Ireland coach Farrell takes blame after England loss Ireland coach Farrell takes blame after England loss

    Andy Farrell shouldered the burden of blame for Ireland's Six Nations loss to England as his side were outplayed at Twickenham on Sunday. 

    Ireland's hopes of a Grand Slam, following back-to-back wins over Scotland and Wales, were dashed as Eddie Jones' men ran out deserved 24-12 winners.

    The visitors were up against it from the moment George Ford capitalised on Johnny Sexton's error to score the opening try after seven minutes, with the Ireland fly-half enduring a rare off-day.

    Sexton's error-strewn display, which included two woefully miscued penalty attempts, summed up Ireland's afternoon as Farrell's charges came up well short.

    "Disappointing. I think the scoreline flattered us a little bit," Farrell told BBC Sport after seeing Andrew Porter's last-gasp converted score narrow the gap.

    "We started firing a few shots when the game was over and that's not what we want to do.

    "I think it was a knock-on effect of cumulative errors. The opposition had something to do with it obviously, they played really well.

    "They played like a side that was desperate to stay in the competition, so fair play to England for that. But we'll look at ourselves for the reasons we allowed them to play the game they wanted to play.

    "First and foremost, I look at myself. Why were England up for it, winning the physical edge? That's down to myself.

    "The reality is the last try at the end allows the points difference not to be too bad and we're in the competition.

    "We go into the Italy game knowing what we've got to do. If we perform like we want to in that game we'll take it to the last weekend."

    A strangely out of sorts Sexton admitted Ireland had nowhere to hide after a lacklustre showing.

    "We gave a very good team two tries from our mistakes, not covering the chip kick, and then we didn't take our chances," he said.

    "We were getting the ball on the back foot, trying to get to the edges and we couldn't, looked a bit silly at times.

    "We still have a big home game against Italy and if we can do that we still have a championship to play for.

    "We need to be a bit better, not play in certain areas of the field when we are going backwards."

  • Six Nations 2020: England 24-12 Ireland Six Nations 2020: England 24-12 Ireland

    England put themselves firmly in the hunt for the Six Nations title and ended Ireland's Grand Slam dream with a 24-12 victory at Twickenham.

    Coach Eddie Jones had thrown a curveball with his team selection, in particular the decision to deploy Jonathan Joseph on the wing, but few were left questioning his wisdom at full-time.

    With France having beaten reigning champions Wales on Saturday to pile the pressure on both of these teams, it was the hosts – winners over Scotland in atrocious conditions last time out – who responded in style on Sunday to fuel their ambitions.

    Ireland coach Andy Farrell will have had his sights set on a clean sweep of victories in the championship after wins over Scotland and Wales, but those hopes were dashed by a team starring his son Owen.

    George Ford's early try, facilitated by a Johnny Sexton error that characterised a rare off day for the fly-half, set the tone, with Elliot Daly touching down in not dissimilar circumstances before the break.

    Robbie Henshaw darted over in the second half but any prospect of an Ireland comeback was ended when Luke Cowan-Dickie's converted try restored England's advantage, rendering Andrew Porter's stoppage-time score a mere consolation.

    England, whose only Six Nations loss at Twickenham in the last 19 matches came against Ireland in 2018, started with remarkable intensity and soon got their reward.

    Sexton, who later badly fluffed his lines from a penalty, fumbled from Ben Youngs' grubber kick and Ford was on hand to gather the loose ball and touch down.

    Daly was similarly alert to get on the end of Ford's searching kick as Jacob Stockdale was caught off guard, while Owen Farrell added six first-half points with the boot to leave Ireland with a mountain to climb as, in 21 matches between the nations in this competition, no side had ever overcome a half-time deficit to win.

    Ireland did prove far more determined after the break and Henshaw broke through the line to cap a prolonged spell of pressure, but Sexton's kick was again wayward.

    Sensing the job was not yet done, England attacked with renewed vigour and Cowan-Dickie was the beneficiary of some excellent forward play as he crossed the line and Owen Farrell added the extras, with John Cooney doing likewise after Porter's last-gasp try.

    Flying start sets the tone for England

    It was a painfully slow start that cost England so badly in the opening defeat to France, but there was no sign of any such complacency on this occasion.

    England were up and at Ireland from the first whistle and, after their initial momentum was halted by a fumble from the otherwise outstanding Courtney Lawes, the hosts were quickly on the front foot again, opening the scoring via a combination of the quick-thinking Youngs ​– making his 100th Test appearance – the ever-alert Ford, and the unusually flustered Sexton.

    Sorry Sexton human after all

    He is one of the very best in world rugby, but that does not mean Sexton is immune to error. He demonstrated that twice in the opening quarter of an hour, which proved a microcosm of the whole contest.

    First he treated Youngs' kick through the middle like a hot potato, eventually palming it to the grateful Ford, then he shanked a three-pointer from the tee in a manner quite unbecoming. Another miscue followed in the second half to compound Sexton's woes.

    What's next?

    England welcome Wales to west London in round four on March 7, while Ireland return to Dublin to host whipping boys Italy on the same day. 

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