Cricket: NCU big guns square up in cup final battle
For the first time since 1991, the Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup will be an all-NCU clash.
Waringstown travelled to the north west to win the all-Ulster game against Brigade at Beechgrove by 27 runs and Instonians ended Leinster’s interest in the competition they have called their own for the last six years, with a superb run chase against Phoenix.
The final will be at Comber on September 4.
The Dubliners hit 262 for five at Shaw’s Bridge with former Ireland international opening bowler Dave Langford-Smith hitting six sixes in an undefeated 106 as Phoenix scored 114 in the last 10 overs.
But Instonians responded in stunning style with Rory McCann and John Stevenson putting on 169 for the first wicket and although both were dismissed in the space of six balls, James Shannon hit 60 not out from 32 balls as he and Andrew White scored the last 94 runs from just eight overs.
White finished 30 not out with three fours, content to watch Shannon smash the Phoenix bowling to all parts. He hit nine fours and two sixes.
There were only 273 runs scored in total on a Beechgrove pitch which helped the bowlers throughout. Johnny Thompson’s superb burst for Brigade gave him figures of four for 24, including Waringstown’s top scorer Jonathan Bushe for 41, but at halfway, the Villagers were more than happy with their total of 150 for nine.
The pitch was turning square and for 26 overs, Kyle McCallan, who opened the bowling himself, used nothing but slow bowlers.
It paid off as Gary Kidd tempted openers Chris Dougherty and David Barr into rash strokes and then Lee Nelson snared the wicket of in-form Iftikhar Hussein for just four in the 14th over, caught low down by McCallan, to leave Brigade 35 for three.
Nelson finished his 10 overs spell with three for 20 after winning leg before decisions against Brigade professional Ata-ur-Rehman and Gareth McKeegan. The Pakistani had just hit Nelson for successive fours, the over after McKeegan had ended McCallan’s second spell with a six and a four.
But, thanks to umpire Louis Fourie’s finger, Brigade slumped to 60 for five and it needed out-of form Johnny Thompson to come good to try and deny Waringstown.
When he hit two sixes, the comeback looked on but Harrison got his man in the next over, and when Brigade lost their next two wickets in successive overs the end was nigh.