Ollie Robinson hit a defiant half-century as England lost the opening match of their Royal London One-Day series against South Africa.
The Kent Cricket Academy graduate provided the only resistance with 54 as the tourists dismissed the hosts for 150.
Thando Ntini put in an inspired performance with the ball, taking four wickets, to guide South Africa Under-19s to a 79-run win over England at Emirates Riverside.
The Proteas were defeated in the Test series, but responded in perfect fashion after being inserted by the home side. Jonathan Bird top scored with an innings of 51 as South Africa battled their way to a competitive total of 230 from their 50 overs, despite an impressive four-wicket display from Nottinghamshire’s Jordan Cook.
Ntini, son of former Kent and South Africa paceman Makhaya, took centre stage with the ball, striking in his first over to set the tone. Two early strikes from Kgaudisa Molefe put England under pressure from the off and they were unable to recover before Ntini returned to push his side over the line. The Proteas take a 1-0 lead in the series ahead of the next contest at Gosforth on Thursday.
England won the toss and elected to field, and although Joshua Richards fell early to Jack Plom, Bird was undeterred as he was able to find the boundary with regularity, including one six down the ground. Bird made a fine half-century off 41 deliveries, but could not kick on as Cook floated a wide delivery up, which he missed and was stumped by Jack Davies.
England made further inroads when Thamsanqa Khumalo was well caught by Ben Charlesworth, who made a good low catch inside the fence. South Africa skipper Wandile Makwetu and Sinethemba Qeshile put on a partnership worth fifty to stem the tide, guiding their team beyond the 100-run mark.
Cook returned to the attack from the Finchale End and broke the stand as Qeshile edged behind to Davies. Cook’s success continued removing Jason Niemand and Jade de Klerk in back-to-back deliveries from the off-spinner to put the Proteas in trouble at 156-6.
Spin continued to put the pressure on South Africa as Makwetu’s knock was ended by Harrison Ward, who also picked up the scalp of Ntini. The Proteas’ innings was in danger of petering out, only for Campher to provide late impetus with an innings of 43 to push his team to a total of 229.
The tourists responded at the start of England’s innings as Ntini removed Charlesworth for one, edging behind to Qeshile.The left-arm spin of Molefe was on display from the first over and he found turn off the pitch to pin Jack Haynes lbw for one. Ward followed his team-mate in the fourth over, presenting Qeshile with a simple stumping.
Banton attempted to address the collapse, but he was undone by Campher’s seaming delivery. The pace of Gideon Peters proved to be the undoing of Davies, who hooked sliced his hook straight to Molefe at mid-wicket. Resistance came from Robinson, defying the Proteas bowlers with a solid knock of fifty from 70 deliveries.
Ntini made the vital breakthrough for the visitors to remove Robinson for 54. The seamer upped the ante to put South Africa on the brink of victory, dismissing Cook and Finch in successive deliveries. Luke Hollman ensured that England were not dismantled late on, but De Klerk struck twice in two balls to secure the win for the Proteas.