Waringstown dethrone Clontarf as T20 champions
Ger Siggins (Sunday Independent)
Waringstown dethroned Sunday Independent All-Ireland T20 champions Clontarf in a dramatic finale at Bready last night, with the fate of the game hanging on the final shot by Waqar Azmat off Gary Kidd.
The clouds were about to burst and Clontarf were a whisker behind on Duckworth-Lewis-Stern, but the hit to long-on would define the result. If it had cleared the ropes Clontarf would retain their crown, instead it ended in the hands of Phil Eaglestone and Waringstown nosed ahead.
The rains arrived and the Armagh village now have all six trophies they compete for in their pavilion.
Their opening pair were matchwinners – Adam Dennison and James Hall are having a purple season and clearly enjoy Dublin opposition. They put on 221 against Pembroke in the Irish Senior Cup quarter-final, and were imperious yesterday in the face of a canny T20 attack.
Both men have been prolific in all forms, and both have soared past the 1,000 run mark. They’re just the sort of players who might attract the Irish selectors desperate for quick-scoring aggressive batsmen at the top of the order – but both have opted not to pursue an international career.
Here they took a few overs to settle, taking just three runs off Shariful Islam’s first two overs, but they soon found their range. Dennison reached his 50 off 39 balls, Hall his in one ball more, but the only thing that was likely to stop them was the weather, and it duly did so.
At the end of the 14th over the grey blanket that had settled over the Foyle-side ground started to give up its showers, and the Bready groundstaff raced on with their covers.
After a 40 minute break they had one over more to set a target, making 134-0, with DLS asking Clontarf to make 155 off 15 overs.
It was a stiff target that required aggression, and Bill Coghlan is the master of muscular batting. While marquee players Obus Pienaar and Andrew Poynter were early victims, Coghlan kept finding the rope.
As wickets fell the rate mounted, but Coghlan hauled his side back into it with a stunning troika of successive sixes off former international bowler Eaglestone.
But the weather intervened and Eaglestone atoned with the winning catch.
The Dubliners had suffered a pre-game setback when fast bowler David Delany was withdrawn having tweaked a hamstring in Friday’s Wolves fixture. With his debut full cap beckoning this week a rest was the judicious solution.
In the morning semi-final against Cork County, Coghlan had batted through for an unbeaten 55 off 35 balls. That game had been reduced to 10 overs, and the Leinster champions total of 93-5 looked enough on a slow pitch.
With Conor Kelly, Sameer Dutt and Obus Pienaar particularly economical, and County losing wickets steadily, their task looked impossible. Rob Duggan and Aaron Cawley hoisted a few plucky sixes but the Munster men fell 16 short.
At least they went out fighting, with local representatives Brigade being knocked out in the other semi-final 3-2 on a bowl-out.