A starring role for JP de Villiers in Town's double
There was more than a hint of irony about Waringstown bringing in a replacement professional for the last two games in the Ulster Bank Premier League and the Irish Cup final and the overseas star being named man of the match as the Villagers completed the double.
But long gone are the days when it was "if you can't beat them, join them" for Waringstown - so long opposed to overseas players in domestic cricket. They have been among the elite of the game for the last 50 years and it was JP de Villiers, a Titan by name back home in South African and by nature at The Lawn on Saturday, who bowled his new team-mates to an emphatic 107 runs victory over Merrion.
De Villiers removed three of the Dubliners top four as they crashed to 35 for five in reply to Waringstown's 276 for seven, the overseas star adding a quickfire 31 to Greg Thompson's 78 and skipper Lee Nelson's 44. His wickets effectively ended the game as a contest despite a typical Merrion comeback, handicapped by an injury to international batsman John Anderson.
Nelson said: "A lot has been said about JP but he's different class. It can only be good for Irish cricket that is playing here. It's almost a dying art to run in like that and take wickets."
North Down's defeat by Instonians on Saturday even before the final was over, confirmed the league title and that trophy will be presented at The Lawn next Saturday.
Derriaghy will be back in the Premier League next season after they completed back to back victories to lift the Section One title.
In the end they did not need to beat Woodvale yesterday as Muckamore surprisingly lost their final game to bottom of the table Cliftonville.
In the North West, the Premiership will be decided by a play-off at Eglinton next Sunday between Coleraine and Brigade after the Beechgrove side moved level with the Bannsiders at the top after a thrilling one wicket win on Saturday,
There was disappointment for Drummond in the National Cup final, especially after they got themselves into a winning position, when they reduced Rush to 69 for six, in their pursuit of a 172 victory target. But the north Dubliners recovered and an unbroken ninth wicket stand of 20 saw them home.
Ulster Bank Premier League: At Shaw's Bridge, Instonians beat Civil Service North by five wickets: Civil Service North 195-8 (R West 35, J van der Merwe 36, A Cowden 27, N Smith 5-31) Instonians 201-5 (47.2 overs, J Shannon 80, A White 59, J McClurkin 24, A Coulter 2-36, J van der Merwe 2-35).
Section One: At Mallusk, Cliftonville beat Muckamore by eight wickets:
Muckamore 113 (19.4 overs, R Haire 31, N Gill 22, F McFadden 3-23, D Anderson 2-18, A Blain 2-18, S Shankar 2-27) Cliftonville 114-2 (19.2 overs, J Terrett 45 not out, A Kelso 32 not out).
At Ballygomartin Road, Derriaghy beat Woodvale by seven wickets: Woodvale 95 (S Fleming 22, M Irwin 23, C Lewis 5-21). Derriaghy 98-3 (17.2 overs (K Aphale 42, R Cummins 29)
Long's SuperValu Premiership: At Eglinton, Eglinton beat Donemana by 8 wickets: Donemana 143-7 (20 overs, G McClintock 61, W McClintock 32, S Olphert 2-9, A Millar 2-28) Eglinton 145-2 (17.4 overs, O Williams 45 not out, C Pierce 45 not out, A Millar 31, J McGonigle 2-18)
Championship/Qualifying 1 Play-off: At The Bleachgreen, Ballyspallen beat Creevedonnell by 144 runs: Ballyspallen 252-6 (S Kennedy 80, G Kennedy 46, I Hill-Nicholl 33, K Martin 33 not out, J Curry 2-29, D Dougherty 2-42); Creevedonnell 108-10 (30.4 overs, D Dougherty 32, A Barr 22, C Wilson 4-23, S Kennedy 3-20, K Martin 2-11)
Irish National Cup final: At Strabane Park: Rush beat Drummond by 2 wickets: Drummond 171 (46.2 overs, S Moore 35, A McDaid 34, C Moore 20; D Brogan 4-26, L Jansen 3-14, S Gull 2-32) Rush 175-8 (43.1 overs, E Conway 43, A Eastwood 32; N Stewart 3-21, S Moore 3-36).
Saturday: Irish Senior Cup final: At The Lawn, Waringstown beat Rush by 107 runs: Waringstown 276-7 (G Thompson 78, L Nelson 44, J de Villiers 31, K McCallan 30 not out: D Joyce 4-62) Merrion 169 (36 overs, D Langford-Smith 70, M Lewis 52 not out; J de Villiers 4-24, K McCallan 3-30).