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Thompson's final assault propels holders CIYMS into CSN challenge

By Ian Callender

CIYMS will meet Civil Service North in the final of the AJG Challenge Cup next week after Johnny Thompson produced a devastating conclusion to their semi-final against Carrickfergus at Belmont last night.

Carrick, bowled out for just 107 in the last of their 20 overs, thought they had dragged themselves back into the game when overs 12-16 went for just 18 runs and they also claimed the big wicket of South African professional Justin Kemp.

Still needing 27 off the last four overs, with Pat Botha, Carrick's South African, to bowl the 17th over - having conceded just seven runs in his first three overs - the pressure appeared to be on Thompson.

Six balls later the match was as good as won as the former Donemana and Brigade all-rounder hit Botha for three sixes and a two.

Suddenly it was just seven runs required from three overs and after Derek Heasley took a single in the next over, Thompson levelled the scores with yet another six and won it next ball with his second four of his 32 balls innings.

Thompson finished 47 not out, but the last 30 had come from just eight balls and the veteran of North West Senior Cup finals has another NCU one to look forward to, at Comber on Friday week.

For Carrick it was a third Challenge Cup semi-final defeat but for the second time in this round they know they didn't do themselves justice and can have no complaints.

In the original match, abandoned with CI just six runs from victory, Carrick had struggled to 98 for seven in 34 overs and last night they fared little better.

Botha, last man out, off Thompson's bowling, top scored with 55 from 56 balls with six fours, but he could never break free as wickets kept falling at the other end.

Indeed only one of his partners reached double figures and opener Michael Gilmour with 13 was second top scorer.

CI's destroyer in chief was Allen Coulter but Kemp and Zach Rushe also kept the batsmen in check and shared four wickets.

Skipper Nigel Jones and Kemp ensured a fast start for the holders in their reply and Thompson finished it off.

Meanwhile, there is certain to be an NCU side in the final of the Irish Senior Cup for only the second time in the last 15 years after Waringstown and Instonians, who contested the 2011 decider, were paired together in yesterday's semi-final draw.

The game will take place at The Lawn on Saturday, August 13 while Merrion will have home advanage in the other semi-final showdown.

Woodvale, after their controversial win in the National Cup quarter-final, have been drawn against holders Rush in the semi, also on August 13, while Newbuildings are away to Laois.

Carrickfergus are back in semi-final action tonight when they take on Lisburn in the Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 Cup, the game postponed from the scheduled finals day 11 days ago.

Whether their batsmen had enough practice last night must be doubtful but it is a second chance to get it right over the minimum distance, although tonight they are up against Nathan Waller, the Zimbabwean Irish passport holder, who has returned to Northern Ireland committed to Lisburn for the rest of the season.

The winners will meet Waringstown or North Down in the final on August 21.

Irish Senior Cup semi-final draw: Merrion v YMCA, Waringstown v Instonians. Games to be played on August 13. National Cup semi-final draw: Woodvale v Rush, Laois v Newbuildings. AJG Challenge Cup semi-final: At Belmont, Carrickfergus 107 (19.3 overs, P Botha 55; A Coulter 4-15, J Kemp 2-21, Z Rushe 2-23) CIYMS 111-3 (17.5 overs, J Thompson 47, N Jones 27, J Kemp 20; P Botha 2-27). CIYMS won by seven wickets.

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