Pembroke beat Merrion in thriller to lift title
Ian Callender (Irish Independent)
PEMBROKE followed up their maiden Irish Cup success by lifting the Premier League trophy for the first time on Saturday, after a Grand Final thriller.
In a memorable 50-over decider, Merrion seemed set to retain their title and confirm the top of the table position in the regular season when, defending 190, they reduced Pembroke to 112-7 and 165-9.
But Ryan Hopkins, batting at No 8, finished 54 not out, bringing up his half century with a six off Tyrone Kane to level the scores and won the match and the title next ball with his seventh boundary; they had 19 balls to spare.
Hopkins’ partner in the last wicket stand of 29 was Ireland international Josh Little who scored only two but kept out 10 deliveries.
John Anderson carried the Merrion innings almost single-handedly, scoring 64 from 112 balls and after he was ninth out, caught off Shaheen Khan, at the start of the 47th over, the innings lasted only another 13 balls, with Pembroke’s South African professional, who was man of the match in the Irish Cup final, finishing with 3-37.
After internationals Andrew Balbirnie and Lorcan Tucker were both out for ducks, lbw to James Groom who took four wickets, Shaheen then scored 44 from 48 balls with six fours and a six.
He was out with the total on 110 but this was to be Hopkins’s day – and Pembroke’s season.