CIYMS will have to do it the hard way to win the cup
If CIYMS are to win the Ulster Bank Challenge Cup for the first time, no-one can say they did not deserve it. Indeed, their easiest game could come in the final! But after getting past North Down and Instonians in the first two rounds, Waringstown, the holders, and the team who beat them in the 2006 showpiece, block their path to a third final in nine years.
At least this time, after winning at Comber and Shaw's Bridge, CI will be at home on Saturday week, although the Villagers have already won there in the league this season by an emphatic 90 runs.
There was no luck for Downpatrick after knocking out Premiership side Muckamore in the quarter-final, they must travel to face Civil Service North at Stormont in the other last four game.
But as Paul Tate, captain of the surviving Section One side said after their thrilling last over, one wicket win on Saturday: "Once you get into the semi-finals you never know what can happen."
Meanwhile, CSN face Waringstown, in what could be a dress rehearsal for the August 1 cup final, at Stormont tonight in the remaining Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 Cup Group A game.
Both have already confirmed their place in the semi-finals but the winners tonight will be at home, to North Down assuming the Comber side do not lose heavily at Ballymena in their last group game tonight, while the losers of the Stormont clash will be away to Group B winners Instonians.
Challenge Cup semi-finals: CIYMS v Waringstown, Civil Service North v Downpatrick. Games to be played on Saturday July 5.
- College Park has paid the price for a disappointing pitch in last week's Newstalk inter-provincial championship game, with the next in the series, between Leinster Lightning and North West Warriors, being switched to Malahide. The three-day game starts at 11am next Tuesday.
- England need to make the highest successful chase in their history if they are to win the second Investec Test – and with it the series – after a stunning century from Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews.
Mathews made 160 in a game-changing knock which included 25 fours and a six, taking his side to 457 all out at Headingley.
That left England needing 350 in the fourth innings, 18 more than their previous record set in 1928/29 in Melbourne and a mark that has been bettered only once on this ground.
Mathews' innings was the main reason for the size of the challenge facing Alastair Cook's team, but England's bowlers must also take their share of the blame, with none of their four-man seam attack at their best and senior men James Anderson and Stuart Broad struggling for long periods.