Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Nelson's controversial fall helps Coleraine claim glory

Winning smiles: Coleraine players celebrate after their dramatic ClubTurf Ulster Cup final victory over Waringstown, complete with sleeping baby

Coleraine won the ClubTurf Ulster Cup final after a dramatic Waringstown collapse on their own mat at The Lawn.

A horror decision against Lee Nelson, given out leg before with the Villagers 47 runs from victory and with six wickets standing, appeared to knock the stuffing out of the NCU side and four overs later Coleraine had bowled them out for 128 – the last four wickets falling for one run.

Most of the ground seemed to see – and hear – Nelson hit the ball into his pads, but umpire Dermot Ward gave the decision and Gordon Cooke, with three wickets in 11 balls, wrapped up the Waringstown tail.

But the Villagers could not blame the umpiring. They had their fair share of luck as well with Alan Neill missing the edge by Craig Averill which gave Waringstown the first wicket of the match in the second over.

Coleraine, forced to play the final without under-19 internationals Scott Campbell and Rishi Chopra, did well to recover to 152 for six, but they too lost their last four wickets in a hurry to an inspired spell of bowling by Obus Pienaar.

The South African came to The Lawn two years ago as a bowler, but it was his batting which took the NCU by storm. In his second spell at the club this season he is showing why he was so highly rated as a bowler and although he may have been lucky to get his first wicket, there was no doubt about his other four.

Niall McDonnell, the North West Warriors captain, was caught behind and on his return to bowl the last four overs from the car park end, Pienaar claimed the big wicket of Coleraine captain David Cooke, who was caught at thirdman.

Cooke had patiently led the Bannsiders comeback from 70 for four in company with young Paul Douglas who did most of the big hitting in their partnership of 54, with the skipper content to nudge the singles and rotate the strike.

Douglas paid the price for attempting a reverse sweep off Greg Thompson, on the verge of a deserved half century and hopes that Gordon Cooke would accelerate the total towards 200 were dashed when he was caught at deep mid-wicket.

That left the final charge up to David Cooke, but even he couldn't make contact with Pienaar's accurate, just short-of-a length, bowling.

If the specialist batsman couldn't score off the Waringstown professional, there was little hope for those coming after him and he duly wrecked the stumps of Mark Averill, had Jarred Barnes caught behind and then bowled Johnny Martin to leave Coleraine probably thinking they were at least 30 runs short of par.

The visitors, who lost the toss for choice of venue, made the perfect start after tea with Barnes having James Hall caught behind to his ninth delivery and Adam Dennison trapped in front with the last ball of his fourth over.

But the big fish had still to come.

They don't come any bigger than captain Kyle McCallan, scorer of the match-winning century in the NCU Challenge Cup final last week, but Gareth Burns had him plumb in front and suddenly Waringstown were 29 for three.

Nelson and Pienaar led the Villagers recovery with a stand of 43 in just seven overs but even when Pienaar was caught behind to give Barnes his third wicket, Waringstown were unfazed with Thompson joining Nelson to add 45 in 11 overs and leave them with 15 overs to finish the job.

The day after they lost their last four wickets for 14 runs to lose the Premier League game to CIMS by 20 runs, an even more dramatic collapse lost the cup final.

And despite the Warriors' woes in the inter-provincials there is not much wrong at the top of North West cricket's pyramid if Coleraine can go home with the Ulster Cup.

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