Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
WARINGSTOWN got the revenge they so desperately wanted and remain on course for their third successive Irish Senior Cup final.
Winners in 2015 but beaten in last year’s decider by Merrion, James McCollum steered the Villagers to a three wickets victory with a superb, unbeaten 107.
They are joined in this week’s semi-final draw by Instonians who hammered CIYMS by 114 runs but North Down could not make it a hat-trick of NCU winners as they lost by 76 runs in Dublin to Pembroke. The 2014 winners, The Hills complete the last four line-up after a straightforward nine wickets victory over Balbriggan.
Although it needed McCollum’s fluent strokeplay on a tricky Lawn surface to get Waringstown over the line, victory should never have been in doubt after the bowlers reduced the holders to 117 for seven in the 35th over.
Young James Mitchell crowned an excellent opening spell with the prize wicket of Ed Joyce, to a superb one-handed overhead catch by Shaheen Khan in the 18th over.
Joyce had made 30 from 39 balls but when he was quickly followed by fellow Ireland international John Anderson, caught by Mitchell at long-on, off Kyle McCallan, Waringstown were firmly on top.
When McCallan and Gary Kidd dismissed two more internationals, Dom Joyce and Tyrone Kane, in the space of 15 balls, it looked as if Merrion would struggle to bat out their 50 overs.
But then, the wheels came off as Vikas Dhiman was given two lives and, bizarrely James Hall and James McCollum were each brought into the attack for what proved to be one over each, costing 12 runs each, while Phil Eaglestone was left with two overs unused.
As a result, Dhiman helped himself to an extra 29 runs and Merrion added 78 in the last 15 overs to finish on 195 for nine.
The Dubliners took that momentum into the Waringstown innings and after nine overs, James Hall, Adam Dennison and Lee Nelson were all back in the pavilion with 38 on the board.
It was also at at this stage that the drizzle was getting persistent and the umpires could be clearly heard ordering the covers to be brought on. However, with the game just one over from ensuring a result – and Merrion comfortably ahead on the DLS calculations – the visitors apparently persuaded the umpires to change their mind and the game continued.
So did the drizzle but it go no worse so everyone was compelled to stay out and it got no easier for the Merrion bowlers operating with an increasingly wet ball. Waringstown – and McCollum cashed in and although he lost four from more partners, the Northern Knights and Ireland Wolves batsman scored his first century for the club from 92 balls.
Three balls later, his 16th four – he also hit the innings only six - won the match.
In the all NCU-tie, Nikolai Smith won the toss so ensured against another Instonians batting collapse batting second.
And it was the CIYMS innings that never got going with no batsman reaching 30 as they were bowled out for just 134.
Andrew Balbirnie returned to the Pembroke side and his 122 out of 301 proved the difference against North Down for whom Peter Eakin's 90, with eight fours and four sixes, earned respectability after they had slumped to 139-8.
The Hills had a comfortable nine wicket victory over Balbriggan who were all out for 106 after Albert van der Merwe claimed 4-22. Sean Terry top scored with 57 not out as The Hills chased down the win in just 15.4 overs.