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Weather plays part as Methody clinch glory in their first Schools' final

Top class: NCU President Clarence Hiles, MCB Captain Louis Lowry and Jonathan Wilson of Ulster Bank last night
Top class: NCU President Clarence Hiles, MCB Captain Louis Lowry and Jonathan Wilson of Ulster Bank last night

By Ian Callender

Methodist College caused one of the biggest shocks in a Schools' Cup final when, with a little help from the rain, they defeated holders RBAI at Moylena last night.

Amid incredible scenes, play resumed after a 67-minute stoppage at 9.40pm with RBAI needing 12 to win from three balls, but opening batsman Jonathan Waite — who should not even have been on strike as he had taken a single off the last ball before the rain break — could manage only a two off the fourth ball of the over and two swings and misses off the bowling of James Hunter gave Methody victory.

When the rain arrived, Inst were favourites to score another 88 runs from the 15.3 overs remaining with seven wickets standing, but a crucial third wicket, when Harry Morrow had James Metcalfe stumped, put the underdogs ahead on DLS, and when play was halted 16 balls later Methody were still ahead.

With the game originally reduced to 35 overs — another two overs were lost by a stoppage early in the Methody innings — 17.3 overs had to be bowled or else it would have been a no result and the trophy shared.

The rain arrived after exactly 17.3 overs but, although the umpires declared conditions fit to complete the over, in the damp and increasing darkness, Methody stayed in front and became the fifth school to win their maiden Cup final since it changed to a knock-out competition in 1991.

Hunter, Methody’s star player — he plays senior cricket for Instonians — scored only eight as his side collapsed to 40 for four in the 13th over after skipper Louis Lowry had chosen to bat, but a fifth-wicket stand of 69 between Max Lyttle and Adam Reid put them back on course.

Reid went on to bring up his 50 from 64 balls and, although he was caught two balls later, one ball remained in the innings.

RBAI enjoyed the perfect start to their reply with Waite hitting a six and a four in the fourth over, and they had 33 on the board halfway through the seventh over. But Jude Holohan then struck with the wicket of Olly Metcalfe, and next over Hunter had his Instonians team-mate Ben Rose caught for five.

Morrow bowled the first maiden in the 14th over, but five balls later came the crucial wicket of James Metcalfe, and Waite could not deny Methody victory.

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