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Craig Ervine's double ton is to no avail

By Ian Callender

Craig Ervine, the former Zimbabwe Test player scored 200 not out, but still finished on the losing side as Donemana again proved the kings of cup cricket – at least in their own backyard.

It was Ervine who bowled the last over of the match for Lisburn in the O'Neill's Cup quarter-final at The Holm and it came down to the last ball with Ricky-Lee Dougherty needing to hit it for six to overhaul the NCU side's 275 for 5. He struck it out of the ground to send the crowd and home players into ecstasy and leave Lisburn players and supporters devastated.

This was, remarkably, their fifth last ball finish of the season. They have won only one.

Ervine finished his own innings in equally spectacular style, by hitting five sixes in the final over to bring up his second century in just 23 balls – his first had taken 101 – with all but 24 of his runs coming in boundaries; his final tally was 14 fours and 20 sixes.

It seemed certain to be a winning innings when Donemana fell to 218 for eight but enter Dougherty, the North West Warriors wicket-keeper, who proceeded to hit three fours and three sixes in his whirlwind innings to bring the game to a dramatic finale.

There wasn't quite the same excitement in Donamana when the draw was made an hour later after they were last out of the hat, drawn to play Waringstown on the wide open spaces of The Lawn.

The Villagers completed their second cup success of the weekend – they defeated Lurgan in the Ulster Bank Challenge Cup on Saturday – by beating Instonians by three wickets at Shaw's Bridge.

Eric Layard batted through the Instonians innings of 223 for five, to score 97 not out, but he too finished on the losing side as Greg Thompson (seven fours and four sixes in 80) and Davy Dawson put on 91 for the seventh wicket.

After Thompson's dismissal, Waringstown still needed 36 from 22 balls, but Dawson, who hit three sixes, saw them home with five balls to spare, bringing up his 50 with the winning runs from his 44th ball.

The other semi-final will be between Bready and CIYMS, the North West side rewarded for their surprise defeat of North Down by a comfortable 52 runs.

Ernest Kemm, who hit 125 in Saturday's Senior Cup win, to give them a semi-final against Brigade next Saturday, added 73 from 80 balls yesterday as Bready totalled 225, but despite an opening stand of 58 the NCU side fell away rapidly, Kemm's left arm spin taking four for 34.

CIYMS won another thriller, in the all-NCU game against Civil Service North – by two runs.

In pursuit of CI's 192 for seven, CSN were coasting at 132 for two, but then lost six wickets for 26, including three with the total on 158. Corin Goodall and Ben Adair stayed together to the start of the last over when 17 were still require.

Adair hit the second and third balls for six to leave just five needed off three balls, but Adair could manage only a single off the fourth and he was run out next ball, trying to get back on strike. That left Goodall needing four off the last ball to win it for CSN, but he could only scramble a leg bye.

The Stormont side have the consolation of being in this morning's Challenge Cup semi-final draw after their six wicket win over Carrickfergus and they could meet CI again as they won a topsy-turvy game against Instonians by five runs – comfortable compared to yesterday. Downpatrick will be the team the other semi-finalists will want, however, after the Section One side knocked out Muckamore by one wicket.

Back in the North West, it was a horror weekend for defending Premiership champions Coleraine who lost back-to-back league games against Donemana and, yesterday, new leaders Strabane to leave them four points off the pace, having played a game more.

Moeen is England’s surprise spin king

Moeen Ali relished his role as England's spin king on the third evening of the second Investec Test against Sri Lanka.

The series decider at Headingley is finely balanced, with the tourists 106 in front with six second-innings wickets in hand.

But the balance of power would have been squarely in Sri Lanka's favour had Moeen not removed Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne in the space of three deliveries.

England used to routinely rely on the now retired Graeme Swann for such heroics but in selecting 27-year-old Moeen, essentially a batting all-rounder for Worcestershire, they acknowledge spin would now be taking a lesser role in their plans.

Indeed, Moeen was called on to bowl just one over of off-spin out of 55 before returning to the attack with memorable results.

“It was nice to contribute to the side, to bring us back into the game because Sri Lanka were playing really well at the time and to do it in that way was great,” he said.

“I was just trying to bowl as straight as I could to Sangakkara, bowl a dot ball really. He's taken me down a couple of times already but I was just trying to do a job for the team and thankfully it came off.”

Earlier in the day Swann, now commentating with Test Match Special, had revealed he had been asked by ECB spin coach Peter Such to work with a group of younger English spinners including Simon Kerrigan and Adam Riley to pass on the experience of his 255 Test wickets.

Moeen has already had brief discussions.

“When he comes down (to the pitch) I try and speak to him here and there. Why not? He's been one of best spinners in world for last seven or eight years,” Ali said.

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