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Methody's wealth of experience may give them edge in Schools' decider

Key role: James Hunter will be out to inspire Methody
Key role: James Hunter will be out to inspire Methody

By Ian Callender

There is a vast difference in experience between the two teams in today's Ulster Bank Schools' Cup final when holders Methodist College take on Belfast Royal Academy at Moylena (2.45pm).

All but two of today's Methody line-up appeared in last year's showdown but only three of the BRA side were involved in the decider against RBAI three years ago.

The Academy's star batsman, Max Burton, actually appeared as a third former in 2015 when they beat Campbell College in the final and it was his unbeaten 78 which ensured back-to-back successes.

This year it looks like a shoot-out between Burton and James Hunter, but invariably it is a side's strength in depth which wins a cup final and that could give Methody the edge as they bid to make it two wins in two finals since the knockout format was introduced in 1991.

Hunter, who plays his senior cricket for Instonians, is one of the five front-line bowlers who have consistently shared the wickets this season and the top six batsmen have all scored at least one half century.

Burton, who plays alongside his captain Harry Warke in the Premier League with Carrickfergus, has been supported down the order by Nick Kane, who saw BRA home in their quarter-final victory against Limavady Grammar and again in Wednesday's semi-final with RBAI, albeit after Hunter had scored almost half the runs.

Belfast Royal Academy: H Warke (capt), M Burton, R Moffett, L Johnston, N Kane, M Braniff, R Jameson, R Linden, O Parkes, A Greer, S Caldwell. 12th man: A Heatley

Methodist College: T Millar (capt), D Humphreys, J Hunter, M Lyttle, M Humphreys, A Reid, R Dravid, R Yousef, T McCreight, J Holohan, J Gibbons. 12th man: A McMurray.

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