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Virtually untouchable Waringstown add T20 trophy to Challenge Cup glory

 

By Ian Callender

Waringstown completed a hat-trick of Lagan Valley Steels T20 Cup triumphs with a clinical seven wickets victory over North Down in yesterday's final at The Lawn.

Lee Nelson set up the victory with the superb figures of 4-18 as North Down were restricted to 143-7 and James Hall finished it off with a chanceless 91 not out, as Waringstown romped home with 16 balls to spare.

Waringstown have now won every domestic final they have played in the last three years and coming just two days after their Challenge Cup victory, at the moment Greg Thompson's team are virtually unbeatable.

They have a batting line-up, the envy of everyone else in the Premier League which, as they proved on Friday at Comber, is capable of chasing any total. So 144, on their own pitch, was never likely to be a problem, especially against a North Down bowling attack which has struggled to take wickets for much of the season.

It needed the introduction of the dependable Ryan Haire to break the opening stand of 93 between Hall and Adam Dennison in the 12th over although the former Ireland international added two more wickets in successive deliveries in his final over, by then Waringstown needed only 20 from 28 balls - and Hall was still the middle.

Hall missed out in Friday's 50-over decider, first out for six, but from the off yesterday he seemed determined to make amends and brought up his 50 from just 33 balls in the ninth over, with his seventh four to go with two big sixes.

When he hit the winning runs, 29 balls later, he had added five more fours and a six and it was probably a surprise to him that he was not the automatic choice for man of the match.

But it was Nelson who received that award after breaking the back of the North Down innings.

He ended the second wicket stand of 62 between Haire and professional Ruhan Pretorius, when he had Haire caught at deep backward square leg for a run-a-ball 37.

Two balls later, he found the edge of Peter Eakin's bat and when Pretorius attempted a reverse sweep in the off spinner's next over the ball came off his gloves onto the stumps and Nelson had taken three wickets for three runs in six balls.

Just for good measure, he followed up with the wicket of Stuart Nelson in his final over and it needed a couple of sixes from Ross Ewing just to ensure that North Down managed 37 off the last five overs.

The North Down total was boosted by six penalty runs, because of Waringstown's slow over-rate but when skipper Thompson was told about it at the start of the last over, he was totally unconcerned.

He knew if his batsmen performed North Down hadn't got enough runs - and they didn't let him down.

Earlier, Downpatrick's bowlers and a poor Holywood batting display combined to give Downpatrick a comfortable five wickets win in the Trophy final.

Dame Mary Peters was the guest at the finals and a charity collection for the Mary Peters' Trust raised almost £885.

Yesterday's Premier League game between Carrickfergus and Instonians went the same way as Saturday's entire programme, washed out by the torrential rain.

T20 Trophy Final: Holywood 84 (M Yeates 3-18, M Gartland 3-18, T Magowan 2-11) Downpatrick 85-5 (16.1 overs, R Smyth 27; A Haire 2-9). Downpatrick won by 5 wickets

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