Crisis, what crisis?
David Holmes (News Letter)
Crisis, what crisis? First blood of 2017 goes to Waringstown as they retained the Lagan Valley Steels T20 total with ultimately a convincing 26 run over North Down.
Greg Thompson lifted his first trophy as captain for the villagers but the victory was built around an imperious man of the match winning innings from James Hall.
Waringstown lost Dennison in the first over bowled by Ruhan Pretorius and it was 19-2 when Lee Nelson drove Marty Moreland to Ruhan Pretorius in the covers. Any thoughts that North Down might seize the initiative were soon put to bed.
Hallís first boundary was an inside edge off Pretorius for four but that was probably the last false shot he played.
His first six , there were 8 more to follow, was firmly planted over the mid-wicket boundary off Moreland in the 5th over. Next over Peter Davison took a mauling from Shaheen Khan the first six cleared the carpark, the next into the pavilion.
Khanís innings should not be underestimated, his 33 off 13 balls put Waringstown firmly in the driving seat as he and Hall added 51 in 22 balls.
Hall reached his 50 off 30 balls and with 7 overs left Waringstown were 114-3 and thatís where it all teed off. Now in company with club captain Thompson the pair put on 113 from 71 balls.
Thompson contributed 40 off 35 balls, but this was Hallís day; his shot off the back foot in the 19th over off Pretorius was sumptuous, three balls later he pulled Peter Eakin over mid-wicket for his 9th maximum to bring up his ton.
194 looked a tall order and so it proved. The North Down innings was always going to be about Ruhan Pretorius and so it proved. He made 59 off 39 balls but once the wily old fox McCallan tempted him into miscuing to Phil Eaglestone in the 16th over the game was good as over.
On another day Khan certainly would have had MOM claims backing up his 33 with 4-31 and his spin twin Gary Kidd was parsimony itself with four overs for 15, but this was Hall at his Sunday best hitting his 15th club century.
Earlier in the day Armagh brought home the T20 trophy thanks to an inspired spell of bowling by Jarred Barnes as he took 3-5 off his 4 overs. It was a superb all-round effort from the Armagh bowling unit and Woodvale never looked in the game.
Once Neil Gelston had set the platform at the top of the order it was left to Barnes to see Armagh home by 5 wickets with 30 not out.