Methody face rivals RBAI in bid to break schools duck
RBAI v Methodist College may be a familiar final down the years in Schools Cup rugby but it has never happened on the cricket field - until this year when the traditional rivals square up at Moylena on Friday (4pm).
The simplest reason is that Methody, on their 150th anniversary, are playing in only their second final - since the first, then known as the League final, in 1974. Indeed, they have played in only two Cup semi-finals, beaten on both occasions, in 2003 - when captained by Gary Wilson - and 2010 by Foyle and Londonderry College.
This year their hopes of lifting the cup for the first time could depend on an Instonian, one of four in the line-ups who are regulars in the Premier League side.
With bat and ball, James Hunter, who played a key role in Saturday's Challenge Cup quarter-final victory over Holywood, is likely to prove the holders' most difficult opponent on Friday although slow left armer Harry Morrow took seven wickets on Saturday to take his season's tally to 16.
RBAI have seven of last year's winning side back again, including joint captains James Metcalfe and Ben Rose and they have taken all 30 wickets en route to the final, for 274 runs. That has ensured emphatic victories by nine wickets, 115 runs and 118 runs on their route to the final, as Jonathan Waite scored 112 not out in the quarter-final against Coleraine Grammar and James Metcalfe top scored with 73 in the last round.
The one hope for Methody - apart from producing a herculean performance on the day - is that they are the only team to have beaten RBAI this season, by six runs in a 20-over McCullough Cup match but, at twice the distance on Friday, it is the holders who are once again big favourites to prove they are still the team to beat in schools cricket.
Teams: Methodist College: L Lowry (capt), T Millar, D Humphreys, J Hunter, M Lyttle, A Reid, R Dravid, M Humphreys, H Morrow, P Morrow, J Holohan, A McMurray, T McCreight
RBAI: J Metcalfe, B Rose (joint captains), J Waite, O Metcalfe, D King, B McNamara, H Ellerby, M Fleetham, N Armstrong, E Scott, S McLarnon, D Mitchell, M Peak.