Cricket: England defeated by the Netherlands

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND were humbled by the amateurs of the Netherlands in Haarlem yesterday - but it was a New Zealander, Roger Bradley (88 not out), and an Australian, Peter Cantrell (64), who were responsible for the embarrassment.

They put on 138 for the third wicket, with the Netherlands winning by seven wickets with three balls to spare as they chased the English side's 188 for 7. The Dutch fully deserved their victory, although the matting pitch was wet in the morning and batting was far more difficult as England struggled to reach 90 for 4 from 35 overs by lunch after being put in.

England's team manager, Keith Fletcher, admitted: 'We would have batted if we had won the toss - we didn't read the mat conditions at all. Obviously we are disappointed to lose, but the players all did their best, and it's not the end of the earth. It has been a good weekend's cricket and today it was just that Holland were on the right end of it. I am not unhappy with the way the weekend has gone because I've been pleased to have a look at some of our young players.'

The English side was selected from four counties who were not involved in domestic cricket this weekend. On Friday they beat the Dutch by 128 runs, but yesterday's defeat in a 55-over contest brought back memories of the 1989 humiliation, when Peter Roebuck's England side lost by three runs in Amsterdam.

Cantrell, a 26-year-old Queenslander, has played Sheffield Shield cricket. He took 2 for 40 with his off-breaks and then, with Bradley, rallied the Dutch from 29 for 2. England's innings was held together by the captain, Kent's Mark Benson, who followed his 61 on Friday with 58 in 47 overs.

The pick of the Dutch attack was the neurologist Huib Visee who conceded just four singles from his six-over opening spell, and he picked up two wickets to finish with 2 for 18.