Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
IT has taken nine years but North Down finally gained revenge for their NCU Challenge Cup final defeat by Instonians, beating the Shaw’s Bridge side to reach this year’s showpiece on Friday week.
Although North Down won the Cup no fewer than seven times between 2000 and 2010, their last appearance in the final was at The Green in 2012 but the long wait ended yesterday with, inevitably, opening batsman Ani Chore seeing his side to a comfortable seven wickets victory.
Chore finished 85 not out and has now scored a remarkable 409 runs since he was last dismissed.
It was the perfect scenario for the Indian-born wicket-keeper-batsman who had all the time in the world with North Down chasing just 210 for victory after restricting Instonians to 209 for nine.
He scored just seven boundaries in his 112-ball innings but steadily accumulated the runs sharing stands of 79 with Gayan Maneeshan and 75 with Peter Eakin.
In the final, once again on their home ground, North Down will play CIYMS who gained immediate revenge for their Premier League defeat by Civil Service North on Saturday with a comprehensive 142 runs success.
The victory margin was actually just one run less than CSN opener Ross Adair had scored from his own bat in the league game at Belmont but yesterday he was caught off Allen Coulter – who had sat out the league game – for just 14.
He still ended up as the third highest scorer as Mark Adair and Graham Kennedy helped themselves to four wickets each.
CIYMS skipper Nigel Jones scored the only half-century of the match but six visiting batsmen all got at least 20 as they totalled 260 for six, 48 of them coming from the last five overs.