Paceman Adam Finch returned outstanding figures as Worcestershire Academy went down by five runs to Ireland Under-19s in the first of two matches at Bromsgrove Cricket Club.
Finch wreaked havoc in his first spell with the new ball after Ireland had been put into bat and it brought him the analysis of 4-9 from seven overs, three of which were maidens.
It helped reduce Ireland to 51-5 before they recovered to 225-6 in a match reduced from 50 to 46 overs per side as Finch showed the form which merited an England Under-19 call-up for the forthcoming ODIs versus India Under-19s.
A sixth wicket stand of 117 in 24 overs between M. Topping (55) and N. Rock (83 not out) was largely responsible for Ireland's revival.
When the Academy replied, opener Jack Haynes batted responsibly in making 69 off 106 balls with two sixes and nine fours.
The home side were well placed at 128-2 after Haynes shares in stands of 50 with fellow opener Callum Lea (13) and 48 for the third wicket with Zain Ul-Hassan (23).
But Haynes dismissal at that juncture in the 30th over was a turning point and only fit again Josh Dell (40) and Finch (19) could come to terms with the run rate after that as wickets fell at regular intervals.
The eighth wicket went down for 204 in the 44th over after Dell and Finch had added 48 in seven overs and the Academy finished just short of their target.
The two teams will meet again at Bromsgrove tomorrow (11am start).
J Grassi c J Haynes b M Davis 0
M Donegan+ c J Haynes b A Finch 4
S Murphy c B Fitzmaurice b A Finch 29
G Kennedy c B Fitzmaurice b A Finch 4
H Tector* b A Finch 0
M Topping c M Davis b Z Hassan 55
N Rock not out 83
J Little not out 22
Total (for 6 wickets) 225 in 50 overs
FOW: 0, 8, 37, 37, 51, 168
M Davis 8-1-35-1
A Finch 9-3-21-4
J Charters 9-0-38-0
Z Hassan 9-1-41-1
M Ahmed 3-0-32-0
J Dickenson 2-1-9-0
J Johal 6-0-37-0
J Haynes b J Garth 69
C Lea c J Garth b M Neville 13
W Wade c G Kennedy b H Tector 10
Z Hassan lbw b J Garth 23
J Dell b J Little 40
J Johal b J Garth 0
M Ahmed run out (H Tector) 9
A Finch* c J Garth b M Neville 19
M Davis not out 7
B Fitzmaurice+ not out 5
Total (for 8 wickets) 220 in 50 overs
FOW: 50, 80, 128, 137, 139, 153, 201, 204
J Little 10-0-49-1
A Cawley 2-0-18-0
M Neville 9-0-44-2
H Tector 9-1-38-1
G Kennedy 6-0-24-0
J Garth 6-0-27-3
M Topping 4-0-14-0