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Villagers targeting final chapter to cherish

By Ian Callender

Lee Nelson will be hoping his and Waringstown's luck changes in cup finals on Sunday when they meet Bready in the O'Neill's Ulster Cup showdown at Strabane Park (1pm).

Last year, in the final of the same competition, Nelson received a horror leg before decision which preceded a Waringstown collapse when they lost their last six wickets for 11 runs and in last weekend's Challenge Cup final, rain arrived with the Villagers ahead on Duckworth/Lewis and Civil Service North, on a difficult pitch, still requiring 72 from 15 overs.

But the rain stopped and there was time for 2.2 overs to be bowled and CSN, with six wickets in hand and all of Nelson's four front-line bowlers 'bowled out', knocked off the required 22 runs to win the cup.

Nelson, though, has no complaints about the result.

"We didn't bat well enough and although it wasn't a great pitch, it was not a 150 wicket," said the captain.

"Yes, we were well in it if the rain had not come on but we should have been defending a bigger total."

As for this weekend's final, the bad luck has started even before the game, with three first-choice players out of the reckoning.

"Our professional has gone home, Greg Thompson is on honeymoon and Phil Eaglestone is an injury doubt, so we have delayed selection," he added.

"Obviously there are a few young lads who would love to come in but we may need more experience for Sunday to help us through.

"We were faced with a similar position back in 2011 when Obus Pienaar went home early and we pulled together, so once again we will have to roll up our sleeves."

There is nothing unlucky about Waringstown's recent record at Eaton Park, however, venue of their vital Ulster Bank League game tomorrow as the big games come one after the other for the leaders.

Ballymena have won the last three between the teams there although Nelson can console himself that they are getting closer!

In 2011, they tasted defeat by eight wickets, two years ago, the margin was five wickets and last year, in a reduced overs game, Ballymena's last pair hit the winning runs.

Fixtures Today (4.30pm): Emerging Knights v NCU Chairman's Select (Belmont, T20)

Tomorrow (12.00): Ulster Bank Premier League: Ballymena v Waringstown, CIYMS v Muckamore, Instonians v North Down, Lisburn v Civil Service North. SUNDAY: CIYMS v Civil Service North

Section One: Cliftonville v Bangor, Derriaghy v Woodvale, Downpatrick v Holywood, Lurgan v Dundrum, Templepatrick v Carrickfergus. SUNDAY: Woodvale v Downpatrick

Section Two: Armagh v Cooke Collegians, Donacloney v BISC, Saintfield v Drumaness, Victoria v Laurelvale. SUNDAY: Armagh v Millpark (T20)

Section Three: Ards v Larne, Donaghadee v PSNI, Dungannon v Dunmurry, Monaghan v Cregagh. SUNDAY: Donaghadee v Monaghan

Goldblatt McGuigan Junior Cup Final (11am): Academy v Lisburn II (Muckamore)

Long's SuperValu Premiership: Bready v Eglinton, Fox Lodge v Donemana. SUNDAY: Ardmore v Brigade, Coleraine v Strabane

Championship: Burndennett v Creevedonnell, Killyclooney v Bond's Glen, St Johnston v Drummond. SUNDAY: Sion Mills v Glendermott

Sunday: O'Neill's Ulster Cup Final (1pm): Bready v Waringstown (Strabane Park).

Belfast Telegraph

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