PHOENIX reached the semi-finals of the Irish Senior Cup yesterday, with victory over Carrickfergus, but the action was overshadowed by the devastating news from Waringstown of the sudden death of popular player and supporter Paddy Allen. He was just 35.
Paddy would have been at the Lawn for the holders’ quarter-final clash with NCU rivals Instonians but, instead, the club flag flew at half-mast in memory of one of the great characters of NCU cricket. The game was, of course, postponed.
One of Paddy’s last tweets on Saturday was to give everyone the news that James Hall had become Waringstown’s greatest ever run-scorer, passing Garfield Harrison’s total career runs. No-one was more delighted for Jimmy.
Whenever Paddy wasn’t turning out for Waringstown Thirds – bowling his slow, slow turners – he was watching the 1st XI, the life and soul at every game. Everyone knew Paddy and it was the same at Mourneview Park and, indeed, at all Glenavon away games where Paddy was a regular supporter. Ulster Rugby was another passion and he will be sorely missed across all three sports.
Carrick were forced to go into the match without CJ van der Walt, their South African, Irish passport holder after the club were told he had been banned from yesterday’s match – by email at 9.10am on Saturday morning.
Van der Walt, in his first season with the club, had actually been informed last Monday that he had received a Level One charge for the reaction to his dismissal in the previous round at Clontarf. He was asked for his observations but he failed to respond – or tell the club – and when time ran out, the club received news of the ban.
Carrick protested at the late news of the ban – they pointed out the last round was played on June 16 but the player was only notified on July 8 – but Cricket Ireland said there was no right of appeal.
With Ryan Eagleson also missing – ironically, called up by Cricket Ireland to assist in coaching duties at yesterday’s Twenty20 international in Bready – it was always an uphill task for Carrick. But despite being reduced to 113-7, Matty McCord and Ashwin Shetty added 108 for the eighth wicket and gave themselves a fighting chance with a total of 238.
The vital early breakthough never came, however, and although Phoenix went from 96-0 to 169-5, Poonish Mehta and Nik Pretorius saw them home with an unbroken stand of 70.
In the end, the game at Middle Road was the only quarter-final which went ahead yesterday. CIYMS’s visit to Leinster has been put back to next Sunday, presumably because George Dockrell and Gareth Delany were playing for Ireland yesterday – but only the clubs seemed to know about the postponement.
The next semi-finalist should be known this evening after Pembroke meet Civil Service North, that match also put back because four players from the two teams were at Bready. CSN skipper James Kennedy would also have missed the game if it had gone ahead yesterday but both teams will be at full strength.