FORMER Waringstown professional Shaheen Khan returned to haunt Civil Service North and end their interest in this year’s Irish Senior Cup at the quarter-final stage.
Because of the difference in player registrations in the provincial unions, the Irish Cup holders had to release the South African because he no longer plays first class cricket. But that is no problem for the Leinster union and his 67 ensured Pembroke are back in the semi-finals for the fourth time in six years.
The quarter-final at Sydney Parade was put back 24 hours to allow both teams to play at full strength but in the end Pembroke went into the match without two of their Ireland players, Andrew Balbirnie, who injured his back in Sunday’s Twenty20 international against Zimbabwe and Josh Lilttle. And their third international, Lorcan Tucker was caught behind off Andre Malan for three, two balls after he had been dropped.
But although CSN reduced the home side to 127-6, in their attempt to defend 205, Pembroke still had 25 overs left to score the remaining 79 runs. Khan hit nine fours in his innings and, although he was out 10 short of victory, Ryan Hopkins saw his side home, his fourth boundary coming with almost seven overs to spare.
Malan was the game’s top scorer with an undefeated 109 but he was unable to break free because wickets were falling at the other end and his strike rate of 72, with just nine fours and a six, left the Stormont side well short of a par score.
Graeme McCarter was the stand-out bowler but Pembroke were able to “see off his overs” and although Andrew Cowden came back to take Shaheen’s wicket, his eight overs cost 65 runs.
There will definitely be at least one NCU semi-finalist when the Waringstown-Instonians game is rearranged, while CIYMS can make it two, if they beat Leinster in their game which was postponed to next Sunday.
With only two semi-finalists known, the Irish Cup draw has been delayed but the draw for the National Cup goes ahead today, as scheduled, with two northern teams in the hat.
Ardmore beat Balbriggan by 11 runs but there was disappointment for Fox Lodge, who lost by seven wickets to Terenure and Templepatrick who, despite Ari Smith’s undefeated 114, fell nine runs short of Railway Union’s 236. Derriaghy play their quarter-final, away to Midleton, in east Cork, this Sunday.
Meanwhile the Ireland Academy squad have arrived in Loughborough, the Centre of Excellence for England Cricket, for two games against the England Under-19 side today and on Thursday. The Ireland side won a pre-season game between the teams in Bristol but they can expect a tougher test this week as the England Under-19s are preparing for a Tri-Series with India and Bangladesh.
Northern Knights wicket-keeper Neil Rock captains the team, which includes eight of the Ireland Under-19 team which head to the World Cup qualifying tournament in Holland next week.
James Hunter, Oliver Metcalfe and Marcus Poskitt are the Ulster players involved in both squads, while Matthew Foster had to sit out yesterday’s Irish Cup tie in Pembroke as the CSN pace bowler is also in the Academy squad for the first time. Ballyspallen’s Graham Kennedy completes the northern representation, while Garth Delany can say he is the most experienced player in the squad after making his Ireland debut in the Twenty20 internationals against Zimbabwe at the weekend.
Academy squad: N Rock (capt), JJ Garth (v/c), R Anders, G Delany, S Doheny, M Foster, F Hand, J Hunter, G Kennedy, N McGuire, O Metcalfe, M Poskitt, T Tector, M Thompson.