Waringstown fail at the final hurdle
Ian Callender (Sunday Life)
WARINGSTOWN failed in their attempt to retain the Irish Senior Cup as Merrion gained revenge for last year's final defeat with a comfortable 56 runs victory at Clontarf.
Ireland international John Anderson, who started the competition with a massive 143 against Carrickfergus, finished it in similar style, his 109 earning him the man of the match award as the Waringstown batting them down.
As skipper Lee Nelson said afterwards: “When Merrion were 140 for two in the 31st over, I would have snatched your hand off to keep them to 252”.
But, already without the injured Adam Dennsion, the NCU side lost opener James McCollum and professional Cobus Pienaar for a total of four runs – from 28 balls! - and when player of the season Greg Thompson was caught behind for just 20, Waringstown were 113 for four.
With 21 overs remaining, it was still game on but Nelson, who has regained his own batting form in recent weeks, had to stay there. It wasn't to be and four overs later he gave a return catch to former Ireland international Dave Langford-Smith, two short of his half-century.
Merrion's bowling, though, was top class and even the big hitting David Dawson could find the boundary only once in his 43-ball innings. Indeed, Waringstown hit only nine fours (and four sixes) in the entire innings – Anderson, himself, hit 15.
Nelson put no blame on the defeat on his bowlers, they just came up against two quality batsmen who gained the initiative in those first crucial 30 overs and, as a result, could afford to lose their next seven wickets for 110 runs.
Anderson, who will make a welcome return to the Ireland side in this week's Intercontinental Cup match against Hong Kong at Stormont, starting on Tuesday, took his average in this year's competition to 163 while skipper Dom Joyce hit his fourth half-century in five Irish Cup finals.
Meanwhile, Derriaghy will be relegated back to Section One if they fail to beat Civil Service North at Stormont today.
CSN's victory over North Down at Comber yesterday leaves the Queensway side eight points adrift at the bottom with only two games to play, following their seven wickets defeat at home to Carrickfergus.
Ireland international Gary Wilson returned ‘home' to play a starring role for CSN, scoring 55 from 57 balls and, rather more surprisingly, also bowled six overs.
Instonians will go into Tuesday's evening's crucial clash against Waringstown with an eight points lead and an 11th victory of the season will clinch the Premier League title. Yesterday Stephen Bunting took a hat-trick as CIYMS' winning run came to a crashing halt, bowled out for 100.