Waringstown ease into semi-finals
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
WARINGSTOWN, the Irish Senior Cup holders, eased into another semi-final with a crushing 133 runs victory over Pembroke in Dublin yesterday.
Deprived of home advantage by last Sunday’s rain, it mattered little to James Hall who turned the heat back on with a superb 175 not out as the Villagers reached 358 for two in their 50 overs.
The NCU champions will be joined in the last four by Strabane who made the much longer journey south and returned with a six wickets victory over Phoenix. But there was disappointment for Civil Service North who lost by seven wickets in double quick time at Clontarf.
But there was nothing better yesterday than Hall’s 146-ball innings which included 14 fours and nine sixes to put the holders out of sight.
For 38 overs, though, Adam Dennison, showing no after-effects from dislocating his finger on Saturday, matched him stroke for stroke in an opening stand of 221.
He was first to his century from 110 balls with eight fours and two sixes but was bowled shortly after Hall brought up his century from exactly 100 balls.
Captain Greg Thompson promoted himself to number three but although he lasted only seven balls, Shaheen Khan came in to hit a whirlwind 64 from just 29 balls (six fours and four sixes as Waringstown plundered 122 from the last nine overs.
The visitors had to wait 10 overs to make a breakthrough but Gary Kidd, returning from a broken finger, had Ireland international Andrew Balbirnie caught by Dennison for 27, in his first over.
Six balls later, Kidd struck again, removing Fiachra Tucker and although brother Lorcan stayed for 23 overs, hitting eight boundaries in his 70, they were always well behind the run-rate and with Lee Nelson taking four wickets, time was up for Pembroke in the 47th over.
CSN, who meet Waringstown in the Challenge Cup final on Friday, lost their first 50 overs game of the season and without skipper James Kennedy, who doesn’t play Sunday cricket and opening bowler Graeme McCarter it was always going to be a difficult ask in Clontarf’s backyard.
When professional Andre Malan was bowled first ball to leave the Stormont side 23-2, the task just got much harder. Morgan Topping finished top scorer with 47 but against an accurate Clontarf attack, which included former Waringstown professional Obus Pienaar, who bowled seven overs for 10 runs, not one CSN batsman had a strike rate of even 70. They were bowled out for 164 and when Clontarf were halfway to their target with just one wicket down in the 15th over, the writing was the wall.
Although Andre Malan dismissed his opposite number, With former international Andrew Poynter hitting 53 from just 28 balls (five fours and four sixes), Clontarf won just 12 overs later.
Strabane carry the flag for the North West with Sri Lankan Chathura Peiris turning their chase for 181 into a formality.
He finished 71 not out after sharing a 98 runs partnership with Ryan Gallagher.
The semi-final line-up is completed by 2016 winners Merrion who eased past Leinster by 116 runs.