Lurgan clinch cup in thriller
Davy Holmes (News Letter)
As NCU President Peter McMorran handed over the Arthur J Gallagher Challenge Cup to Lurgan captain Hannah Grieve it was apparent how much it meant to both her and her teammates, not just a league and cup double but also an unbeaten season.
It says much for the attitude and determination of the side that opening bowler Susie McCollum cut short a holiday to Spain so she could play but in the end the result was perhaps closer than Lurgan would have wished.
On winning the toss after a delayed start, North Down captain Sandi Harrison had little hesitation in asking Lurgan to bat. Conditions were somewhat gloomy and it was a credit to the work of ground staff that the final went ahead.
Staci Maxwell made the initial breakthrough for North Down followed by an excellent catch from Amy Benson off the bowling of Laura Campbell to leave Lurgan 15-2 and give the home supporters some early jitters.
In reality, this final was dominated by one woman; Lurgan captain Hannah Grieve. At first watchful but then she moved through the gears including consecutive sixes, until she was finally retired having reached 52.
North Down’s bowling attack stuck to the task with the pick being Nicky Flanagan with 2-4 and Maxwell with 2-12, restricting Lurgan to 106 off their 20 overs.
North Down had the worst possible start when skipper Sandi Harrison fell to McCollum in the first over and her opening partner Grieve also struck to leave it 19-2 off 4.
When McCollum held on to an excellent catch it was 31-4 off 7, despite losing wickets at regular intervals the run rate was ticking along. Laura Clarke certainly took the attack on as she top scored with 29 before drilling one straight at Hannah Grieve at midwicket.
Nicky Flanagan had an excellent all-round day as she finished on 26 not out with North Down just 5 runs short. There were two wickets each for McCollum, Grieve and Jane Kilpatrick.
In the end, the Arthur J Gallagher player of the match was a simple choice and no arguments from anyone as Hannah Grieve stepped forward.