THERE was Under 19 World Cup heartache for a Worcestershire duo as England bowed out at the semi-final stage.
Wicketkeeper Joe Clarke and batsman Ed Barnard both played big roles through the tournament in helping England to set up a last-four clash against Pakistan.
However, it wasn’t to be as Pakistan rallied from 142-7 to chase down a target of 205 in the final over in Dubai.
Clarke and Barnard both recently committed their futures to the New Road club and will be on summer scholarships during the 2014 season, before switching to full contracts for 2015 campaign.
County director of cricket Steve Rhodes said: “Ed hasn’t got too many runs in the last few games, but has shown his quality through the tournament.
“In the previous two matches, Joe finished the innings well, so both of the lads are real plus factors for us.
“They are both still at school and have to finish their A-Levels, so by the time the senior lads are back from our pre-season tour to Abu Dhabi, they will be back behind their desks!
“However, they are both good additions to our squad and they will be keen to get involved with the first team when they have finished at school.”
In the semi-final, Zafar Gohar (37no) and Amad Butt (26no) shared an unbroken eighth-wicket stand of 63 to see Pakistan to a three-wicket victory and deny England their first appearance in the final of this event since 1998.
Pakistan collapsed from 57-1 to 57-4, before Saud Shakeel (45) and Ameer Hamza (35) revived their side’s cause with a fifth-wicket stand of 74.
Yorkshire seamer Matthew Fisher had both caught behind to tilt the match back in England’s favour, only for Gohar and Butt to provide a sting in the tail.
England has earlier posted 204-7 from their 50 overs with Barnard making 13 and Clarke suffering a first-ball duck.
Meanwhile, Kent have signed former Worcestershire overseas player Doug Bollinger, the 32-year-old Australian left-armer, as their overseas player for the 2014 season.