Inst face final dilemma over top-flight talents
Instonians will have to pay for Olly Metcalfe and James Hunter to fly back from the Under-19 World Cup qualifiers in Holland if they are to play in the Gallaghers Challenge Cup final on Friday week.
The last match for the Ireland Under 19s is scheduled for Thursday, August 1, with the squad not due to fly back until the following day, and the only way for Metcalfe and Hunter, who top scored for Instonians in their semi-final victory over Muckamore, to make it in time for the 11am start is to fly into Dublin late on Thursday or first thing on the Friday morning.
Both schoolboys have been regulars on the Instonians side this season, Metcalfe as opening batsman and Hunter in the middle order and also for his bowling. When Instonians slumped to 123-5 on Saturday, it was Hunter, in partnership with Rob McKinley who revived the innings.
They put on 88 for the sixth wicket, with Hunter, who finished 61 not out and McKinley, who hit 41 from 50 balls, boosting the total to 250-7. Murray Commins hit 54 but what difference would it have made had Aditya Adey, in an impressive new ball spell when he removed Nicolai Smith and Metcalfe, held a return catch off the South African when he was on 20.
Thanks to Karthik Ravavelu and Shane Henderson adding 51 from the last five overs, Muckamore closed the margin of defeat to 28 runs but a target of 251 always looked beyond them when they were 81-5.
CIYMS, for a change, did not have it all their own way in the other semi-final against Civil Service North who didn't help themselves by missing no fewer than three chances in the first six overs as they tried to defend 156-9 in 35 overs.
The dropped catches actually cost only a handful of runs because John Matchett, Chris Dougherty and Nigel Jones all gave their wickets away shortly afterwards to leave the home side on 49-3 and when Jason van der Merwe followed next ball, caught at slip off Ben Adair, CSN still scented a huge upset.
But Obus Pienaar was still there and despite losing Ryan Hunter and Jacob Mulder, the latter with still 18 wanted, the CI professional saw his side into the final, winning the match with a six to finish 72 not out.
The final, at Comber, will be the third meeting between the teams in five years with CI bidding for a hat-trick of wins against their Belfast rivals.
In the North West, Brigade's procession to the Long's SuperValu Premiership title continued with an eight wickets win over Coleraine.
Ryan MacBeth was the star for Brigade, taking six for 30 as the Bannsiders were bowled out for 79 and the runaway leaders eased home by eight wickets.
The gap at the top was increased to 74 points because defending champions Bready slipped back to fourth after being dismissed for 66 by Eglinton. Only two batsmen reached double figures and five failed to score, and the visitors knocked off the runs for the loss of Tommy Orr - for the game's top score of 33 - in a match which lasted less than 35 overs.
Donemana took advantage to leap into second place with the best match of the day. Set 241 for victory, after a partnership of 122 between Brendon Louw (81) and Graham Kennedy (60), the home side were 199-7 but Dean Mehaffey, with an undefeated 34 saw his side to a two wickets victory with nine balls to spare.
Strabane left Coleraine at the bottom of the table after beating Glendermott by eight wickets, Aaron Gillespie scoring 75 not out as they reached their target of 164 in the 27th over.