Courageous batsmen take U-15s to All-Ireland title
North Down Cricket Club’s Under-15s are the new All-Ireland Champions.
Having won all before them in 2010, Peter Eakin's side travelled to Dublin with confidence, hoping to repeat the magnificent achievement of the under 13s in 2007.
YMCA batted first in the 40 over All-Ireland final and got off to a sound start scoring 33 before Paddy Carser struck in the second of his scheduled eight overs. He brought a ball back from outside off stump to bowl Cole and herald the beginning of an amazing slump from the home side.
As is usually the case, a partnership developed between Kirk and Bailey and these precious 52 runs secured a total of 111 all out.
Gavin Anderson had joined the caught and bowled squad and Carser took his second and with a Ryan Burgess wicket thrown in, YMCA struggled.
Paddy Carser and Ryan Burgess opened the batting after tea and took the total to 17 before Burgess was bowled pulling to mid wicket. Only 10 runs were added before YM snapped up the wicket of the North Down captain, Peter Eakin, caught at mid off, lofting a skier.
Wickets tumbled regularly with Peter Davison, Gavin Anderson and Curtis McCartney all falling to catches.
Fifteen runs were still required and the pressure was on. Visions of a Laurelvale repeat haunted the North Down camp, but nobody seemed to have accounted for the determination, ability and character of Andrew McKibbin. He had enabled Wright to build his innings, giving him as much of the strike as possible, kept out the bowling of the returned and capable YMCA opening bowlers and had the patience to score only two singles of his first 26 balls and not let it rattle him.
The rewards were great. He played a beautiful square cut for four, and guided his number 10 batsman Dean Wylie across the finishing line to the exhilaration of the travelling North Down supporters.
Both finished not out and in the context of the game McKibbin's 11 runs were worth a lot more than that.
Who would be a Man of the Match adjudicator!!
What a year for the under 15s: Graham Cup winners, NCU under 15 League Cup winners and Under 15 All Ireland Champions.
You can't do better than that.