Civil Service North win TCH Challenge Cup
They say catches win matches so it was only fitting that, after taking four of the best seen in one match, Civil Service North won the TCH Challenge Cup.
But that tells only part of the story of one of the most dramatic finals in recent years and certainly the best since the tie in 1994.
The Stormont side beat Waringstown by four runs at The Meadow but only after both sides had the famous old trophy within their grasp at various stages of a low-scoring but ultimately thrilling decider.
It was never going to be pretty viewing after all the rain of the last week but the Downpatrick ground staff worked heroically to prepare a pitch which was satisfactory to both captains, if not the umpires.
The players’ decision proved correct and the game was the winner.
Don’t tell that to Stuart Kidd however. The Waringstown No 10 was given out, caught behind by Gary Wilson off the last ball of Regan West’s 10th over, the 48th over the innings.
The ball was probably Civil Service North’s last throw of the dice. West was their match-winner, he was virtually unplayable, turning the ball square and picking up three wickets, although Nigel Jones received the Bill McCarroll Memorial Trophy for his innings of 51, more than twice the runs made by any other batsman.
On a day when patience was the watchword, Jones’ fist five runs used up 20 overs before he celebrated his 50th ball with the first six of the match. When he was sixth out, in the 44th over, caught at long-on, he had faced 131 balls and hit just four more boundaries. The last four wickets added 24 runs although Michael Heaney was dropped at long-on.
Heaney, however, gave those runs back to Waringstown, with interest, when he dropped James Hall at backward point but it was a rare lapse in the field by CSN.
Rob Arthur missed a stumping off Bushe, the first ball after the drinks break and three balls later the wicket-keeper had to retire with a cut above the eye and a swollen cheekbone after a ball from West reared off a length.
By that stage Jones had already left the field with a leg injury and it was 12th man Corin Goodall who took a stunning one-handed catch, diving forward and running in from long off to dismiss Hall.
When Jones returned he proved his fitness by running to his left from slip to take another diving catch and then Charles Beverland, first at short leg and then full stretch at deep extra cover held two more to reduce Waringstown to 83 for seven.
If that was game over, no-one told Peter Hanna and Dave Cheater who got the Villagers to within nine runs of victory but first, a suicidal run-out cost Hanna his wicket and then, fatally, next ball, Cheater tried to hit Wayne Horwood out of the ground and was caught 15 yards short.
By that stage even the prawn sandwich brigade couldn’t take their eyes off the match. And there was still one more twist.
CIVIL SERVICE NORTH
W Horwood b Cheater 0
G Wilson b Cheater 23
N Jones c G Kidd b McCallan 51
R West c G Kidd b Stokes 5
S Dyer c Bushe b Stokes 0
R Arthur c Hall b McCallan 3
M Heaney st Bushe b G Kidd 20
C Beverland c Cousins b McCallan 1
J Costain not out 8
N Black b G Kidd 2
C Andrews not out 6
Extras (4b 5lb 20w 2nb) 31
Total (50 overs, nine wkts) 150
Fall: 1-4 2-31 3-37 4-37 5-71 6-124 7-131 8-134 9-136
Bowling: D Cheater 7-0-29-2, S Harrison 10-5-7-0, S Stokes 5-0-17-2, K McCallan 10-1-22-3, G Kidd 10-1-24-2, L Nelson 3-0-15-0, S Kidd 5-0-27-0.
J Hall c sub (Goodall) b Horwood 22
L Nelson lbw b Jones 1
K McCallan c Jones b Horwood 19
J Bushe c Beverland b West 10
S Harrison c Jones b West 0
P Hanna run out 22
A Cousins c Beverland b Heaney 2
G Kidd c Wilson b Heaney 7
D Cheater c West b Horwood 27
S Kidd c Wilson b West 0
S Stokes not out 2
Extras (2b 6lb 25w 1nb) 34
Total (48 overs) 146
Fall: 1-5 2-39 3-52 4-60 5-64 6-71 7-83 8-142 9-142
Bowling: N Jones 6-1-14-1, J Costain 10-3-21-0, W Horwood 8-2-26-3, R West 10-2-23-3, C Andrews 10-2-23-3, M Heaney 5-0-20-2.
Civil Service North won by four runs.