Far from a classic but Waringstown win
Ian Callender (Sunday Life)
IT WAS not the classic final that everyone predicted but Waringstown won’t give a jot after beating The Hills to win the Irish Cup for a record-equalling fifth time and pick up their third trophy of the season.
A fourth should follow next Saturday when victory over relegated Lisburn will give them the Gardiner Bros Premier League title and the celebrations which started at Bready last night can finish with the mother of all parties.
Captain Greg Thompson admitted it was a good toss to win but his bowlers still had to perform – and how, bowling out The Hills’ powerful batting line-up for just 135 and after a slight wobble when they lost three wickets with the score on 93, eased home with four wickets to spare.
Thompson had just arrived in the middle after Yaqoob Ali had Lee Nelson caught at silly point and then could watch, helplessly from the other end as Shaheen Khan was bowled by his South African counterpart Ryan Cartwright and then, two balls later Marcus McClean was leg before.
It was the reassuring experience of Kyle McCallan who then strode to the middle and the duo duly added the remaining 43 runs without a hiccup in 11 overs to take them to their target and a second Irish Cup triumph in their third successive final.
“We have done that all year, with partnerships at important times from various people,” said Thompson,” and it happened again today. I would like to wrap up the league next week and that would give us four trophies out of six which I would have taken at the start of the year.”
Apart from that three wicket burst in four balls, however, The Hills were a big disappointment on the day. At no stage did they threaten even a 180 total, never mind 200, which would probably have been a winning one.
Indeed, they appeared to give up that target as early as the 30th over when, at the fall of the third wicket, Albert van der Merwe came in ahead of big-hitting captain Max Sorensen to continue picking up singles rather than try and get after Waringstown slow-bowlers.
But Lee Nelson, Gary Kidd and Kyle McCallan did much as they wanted and, in the end, had aggregate figures of five for 68 from 24.3 overs.
McCallan, at the age of 42, and 16 years after his first Irish Cup final for Cliftonville, was the man of the match with the big wickets of Under 19 international and The Hills top scorer Mark Donegan, van der Merwe and Cartwright.
When a direct hit from Shaheen and two wickets in three balls from Kidd wrapped up the innings, Sorensen was left stranded 24 not out having hit the only six of the innings.
The contrast in Waringstown’s approach was there for all to see with openers Adam Dennison and James Hall bringing up the 50 in 12 overs and although Yaqoob kept The Hills in the game, he didn’t have enough support to deny the NCU champions-elect their deserved victory.