Memorable Weekend for Co Kerry Cricket Club
On Monday, Co Kerry traveled to Co Galway to record a 28 run victory over their hosts, in the All Rounder Premier Division, to round off the most remarkable weekend in the history of County Kerry Cricket Club. Less than 24 hours previously, the same side captured the MCU Senior Cup for the first time by defeating Cork Harlequins by 4 wickets, at the Mardyke, in one of the best Cup finals in recent memory. As if that wasn't enough, the 2nd XI captured the Junior Cup in a repeat of last year's final, defeating Cork Harlequins by a 4 wicket margin at the beautiful Oyster Oval.
Watching the Senior Final on Sunday were two of the founder members of Co Kerry Cricket Club, Joe Revington and Dave Ramsay. Both men would have many memories of trophy wins and near misses but this victory outranks them all. The only thing Co Kerry didn't win at the weekend was the toss as Cork Harlequins, surprisingly, decided to bat on a beautifully prepared pitch with some live grass in overcast conditions. The evergreen Ted Williamson opened the batting for Quins with Matthew Brewester. Both openers were prepared to be patient as they coped with the pace of Kashif Khan from the City end. Kerry's bowlers struggled from the Sunday's Well end with multiple wides and fielding extras before Khuram Iqbal replaced Awais Saghir in the 8th over. Runs were hard to come by and at the end of over 15, Quins were 57-0 (extras accounting for 21). Bowling changes at both ends bore fruit as Yakoob Ali bowled Brewster in his first over and Mustak Mardan top edged to Awais Saghir at extra cover in his very next over. Ru Jones joined Williamson at the crease and the pair continued the patient accumulation of runs. Williamson's 50 came up in the 30th over with Quins on 116-2. Jones's fine innings of 33 came to an end when he was superbly caught by Bilal Alam at point in over 35 off the bowling of Kashif Khan. Khan also accounted for Kieran O'Reilly before Iqbal took the wickets of Williamson on 75, bowled and Senan Jones, LBW, in successive deliveries leaving Quins on 180-6. Zuhair Shah put on 21 and Joe Hourihan 12 before both being caught behind. Manvinder Singh was run out by Darragh Lynch and the Quin's innings came to a close next ball when Adam Hickey was deceived by the pace of Iqbal. It was generally felt that Quin's total of 207 was just under par.
From the off, it was apparent that Kerry would be more aggressive in their batting with boundaries being scored in each of the first seven overs, bar one. When Bilal Alam was caught in the deep by Mustaq it signaled for a more cautious approach from the Kerry batsmen. When Alam Morshed was given out LBW off the bowling of Kieran O'Reilly in over 21 Iqbal was joined at the crease by Arsalan Anwar. A 64 run partnership between the two seemed to have swung the odds in Kerry's favour before Iqbal was caught in the deep by Brian O'Leary. Iqbal's fine knock of 73 leaving Kerry requiring 57 off 93 balls. But as supporters of Kerry cricket know, Kerry don't do easy. When Saghir (10) was caught by Ru Jones at mid-wicket and Azeem Khan, caught on the boundary by Zuhair Shah Kerry required 16 off 26. Qassim Butt hit a maximum and a four in his short spell leaving Kerry requiring 4 from 14. Kashif Khan scored a single off the second ball in the penultimate over giving the strike to the assured Arsalan who duly supplied the winning boundary to bring an end to Kerry's long wait. Arsalan finished with 58 off 90 balls.
A wonderful contest played in great spirit by two sides hungry for success. At the presentation, MCU chairman, David Griffin, praised both teams on their performances. He also thanked the officials and duly presented the Cup to Kerry captain, Yakoob Ali. The biggest cheer of the day was for Dave Ramsay who spoke of Kerry's long wait for the coveted prize in his hands. As well as complimenting both teams and officials he praised the tireless efforts of Kerry's 'backroom staff', Richard, Blanche, Sean and Ian Rutland.
Man of the Match award was presented to Khuram Iqbal for his fine knock of 73 plus his 3 wickets for 25.