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Ruhan Pretorius ton fires Villagers into final

By Ian Callender

Waringstown will have home advantage in the Irish Senior Cup final on September 5 after a convincing 105-run victory in their semi-final at Pembroke yesterday.

Professional Ruhan Pretorius was the difference between the teams, his 112 helping the Villagers to an impressive 291 for seven, and with Phil Eaglestone taking a wicket in his first over and Gary Kidd, in only his second game back from injury, claiming two,the Dubliners' three-match winning run came to a shuddering halt.

Kidd's victims were Pembroke's top two scorers, Lorcan Tucker, immediately after he brought up his 50, and Barry McCarthy, the Durham professional released for the match, caught on the boundary by Eaglestone, who showed no ill effects from the ankle injury which prevented him bowling for Northern Knights on the final two days of last week's inter-provincial game at Stormont.

Pretorius had claimed the big scalp of opposite number Jono Cook for a duck and skipper Lee Nelson picked up three of the last four wickets to finish as his side's most successful bowler.

James Hall, Waringstown's batsman of the season so far, gave them their usual fast start and, when he reached 31, he became the second NCU batsman to post 1,000 runs for the season - Rassie van der Dussen was the first less than an hour earlier at Belmont - in only his 12th innings.

But when Hall, who fell just 28 runs short of a third double century of the season in the crushing league win over Ballymena on Saturday, was run out, by his captain, for 47 - which included nine fours and a six - Pretorius took advantage of two lives, the first on only 25, to score his second century of the season, from just 93 balls. In all he hit 14 fours and two sixes, dominating a fifth wicket stand of 96 with Greg Thompson and with Davy Dawson added 56 for the sixth wicket as Waringstown scored 166 in the second half of their innings.

Waringstown's opponents in the final will be Merrion, who dashed any hopes of an all-NCU final with a crushing eight-wicket win over Civil Service North at Anglesea Road.

Skipper Andrew Cowden was dismissed first ball to give CSN a nightmare start, and until Ben Adair's late flurry produced 32 from 27 balls, only Jason van der Merwe put up any resistance, his 59 coming off 109 balls.

Although Allen Coulter struck with successive balls to reduce Pembroke to 56 for two, opener Robin Smith and Ireland international John Anderson eased Merrion to victory without further loss in the 36th over.

Drummond will represent Northern Ireland and play Rush in the National Cup final the following day, at Strabane, after beating south Dublin side Dundrum by eight wickets.

In the Long's SuperValu Premiership, Donemana failed to total 80 for the second successive day to end their hopes of a league and Senior Cup double.

Brigade lost eight wickets in reaching 79 at The Holm yesterday but it leaves them just two points behind leaders Coleraine who they play in the last match.

At the other end of the table, defending champions Strabane moved four points clear of a possible relegation play-off after bowling out Bready for 116 and leaving them in that position.

Irish Senior Cup semi-finals:

Anglesea Road: Civil Service North 195-9 (J van der Merwe 59, B Adair 32 not out, C Goodall 23, R West 20; H Kennedy 2-18, J Anderson 2-30, D Rhoda 2-46) Merrion 196-2 (35.3 overs, R Smith 88 not out, J Anderson 63 not out, J Blakeney 25). Merrion won by 8 wickets

Sydney Parade: Waringstown 291-7 (R Pretorius 112, J Hall 47, G Thompson 35, D Dawson 27, L Nelson 24; J Cook 3-50, B McCarthy 2-55) Pembroke 186 (44.2 overs, L Tucker 50, B McCarthy 30; L Nelson 3-21, R Pretorius 2-19, G Kidd 2-49). Waringstown won by 105 runs.

National Cup semi-finals

John Hunter Grounds: Dundrum (LCU) 133 (37 overs, S Dunn 3-17, J Martin 2-30, D Holmes 2-34) Drummond 134-2 (27.5 overs, C Moore 46 not out, S Moore 32 not out).

Kenure: Greystones 246-8 Rush 247-2 (25 overs. Rush beat Greystones by 8 wickets.

O'Neill's Cup semi-final

Eglinton: Eglinton 114 (35.3 overs, R Wylie 49; S Bunting 4-4, Z Rushe 2-25) Instonians 116-2 (F Iqbal 42 not out, J Shannon 29 not out, J McClurkin 22). Instonians won by 8 wickets.

Ulster Bank Premier League

Belmont: CIYMS 242-7 (R van der Dussen 100, J Matchett 47, C Dougherty 27, N Jones 24, J Thompson 23; P Eakin 3-36) North Down 247-3 (49.4 overs, P Malan 114 not out, A Sutherland 101; J Cameron-Dow 2-46). North Down won by 7 wickets

Long's SuperValu Premiership

The Holm: Donemana 78 (26.3 overs, K Dougherty 37; A Britton 4-18, N Donnell 3-12, J Robinson 3-13) Brigade 82-8 (23.1 overs, C Dixon 25; A McBrine 4-11, J Frylinck 2-35). Brigade won by 2 wickets.

Strabane Park: Strabane 252-7 (P Gillespie 60 not out, C Patton 45, B Scott 37, T Mupariwa 35; C Young 2-38, D Scanlon 2-52). Bready 116 (31.4 overs, D Scanlon 42 not out, D Rankin 24, M Loubser 20; A Gillespie 4-22, T Barr 2-17, R Gallagher 2-36). Strabane won by 136 runs.

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