Barr inspires glory as Villagers wilt under strain
Bready enjoy their greatest day
In the end even Bready couldn't believe how easy it was. The Magheramason side won the O'Neill's Ulster Cup as Waringstown collapsed for the second year in a row. Indeed, the Villagers may start getting a complex about cup finals. Already beaten in this year's Challenge Cup decider by Civil Service North, history repeated itself yesterday at Strabane Park in the delayed Ulster Cup showdown.
Last season, they lost their last six wickets for 11 runs to fall 35 runs short of Coleraine's total; this time they could not even reach three figures, bowled out for just 91, Bready's total of 185 for seven a distant dream.
But if it was a nightmare for Waringstown, it can be ranked as Bready's greatest day – their first inter-union Cup final success.
And they did it without significant contributions from their top two batsmen, David Rankin and professional Ernest Kemm, who scored just seven between them.
But it was another North West Warrior who rose to the big occasion with David Barr ending up as the game's top scorer with 41, although when James Hall had him superbly caught one handed, behind his head, by his captain, Lee Nelson must have thought his side were in the driving seat.
But it was the big-hitting Bready middle-order who turned the Waringstown bowling into a crash scene as Brian Crumley and Darren Moore's helped themselves to seven boundaries in the next five overs in a fifth wicket partnership of 45 in 39 balls.
James McCollum made the breakthrough to dismiss Crumley for his quickfire 30 (four fours and a six) but even when Moore followed five overs later, Bready still weren't finished.
Craig Young underlined his all-rounder potential to hit James Mitchell for two fours and a six in the space of four balls and although the bowler got his man next ball, the momentum was still with Bready and skipper David Scanlon finished in style by hitting Kyle McCallan for two successive sixes in the last over.
Buoyed by their tremendous recovery, Young and Scanlon then ripped through the Waringstown top order with Hall, McCollum and Adam Dennison all back in the pavilion inside nine overs with just 31 on the board. But the crucial wicket, yet again, was the captain's.
Nelson, fresh from hitting 126 in the Premier League win over CIYMS on Saturday, was given out caught behind off Kemm in the 12th over. He didn't think he hit it, unlike in last year's final when he did hit it and was given out leg before!
Another case of history repeating itself for Waringstown and the slide continued as Kemm and Ryan Barr ensured a cup final victory to savour for Bready
If it was disappointment for Waringstown it was devastation for North Down who failed in their bid to reach a first Irish Cup final for 19 years, losing by three runs to The Hills in a game decided by the last ball.
While current Ireland opening bowler Max Sorensen had an off day with the ball – he did hit 70 off 57 balls with six sixes and three fours – it was former Ireland international Naseer Shoukat who bowled a superb final spell to win the match for the Skerries side.
Needing eight off the last over, it came down to four off the last ball but Cameron-Dow could only scramble a single and the long wait for North Down continues.
It was a sensational collapse by the Comber side, for whom Johnny Terrett and Nick Larkin had put on 126 for the first wicket and even though both were dismissed in the 60s, North Down needed just 43 off the last eight overs with seven wickets left, but they couldn't stand the pressure.
The Hills will meet Clontarf in the final at Castle Avenue on Saturday after the holders pulled off a dramatic three wickets victory over Pembroke, chasing 256 with just two balls to spare.
But it will be an all-Ulster final in the RSA National Cup next Sunday after Carrickfergus won with an over and five wickets in hand in south Dublin against Dundrum, while Killyclooney won a rain-interrupted game against Woodvale.