Rush v Lurgan
Rush: 345/6 in 50 overs ( S.Iqbal 122, E. Conway 80, M.Donnelly 71) beat Lurgan: 163 all out in 29.3 overs. (S.Johnston 40, N.McCollum 33) S.Gull 10-1-60-3 A.Iqbal 3.3-1-10-2 S.Iqbal 6-1-21-2 D.VanZyl 6-0-28-2
Lurgan won the toss elected to bowl first on a green track, but there was no early assistance from the pitch nor was their swing in the air and Rush started cautiously.
Grieve got an early wicket to make it 12/1 in the 5th over, but Rush straight away went into 2nd gear. Lurgan couldn't stem the consistent flow of runs from either end and Niranjan Godbole managed to break the 123 run partnership in the 22nd over.
Peter Maxwell took this opportunity by deciding to take their fielding Powerplay on the 23rd over which proved useful since N.McCollum took a caught & bowled within the 23rd over (fow 140/3 in 22.3 ovrs). Rush steered through the Powerplay and steadily built another partnership before N.McCollum got another wicket straight through the gate taking out leg stump, (fow 187/4 in 32.6 ovrs).
But then S.Iqbal stepped up another gear and the tempo. Rush took advantage of this by taking their batting Powerplay from the 40th over to 44th. Lurgan's captain brought himself into the attack to stem the flow of runs and got a wicket in the Powerplay block (fow 265/5 in 42.1 ovrs), but S.Iqbal continued to steady Rush and surged in the last 3 overs only to be out the final ball of the innings (fow 345/6 in 50 ovrs).
Lurgan's bowling wasn't all that bad, if only for the fact that there were only a handful of extras conceded. A couple of skiers went down and about 2 or 3 difficult catches could not be made. At least 2 of all the catches that wasn't taken was S.Iqbal, but by that time he was already passed his century.
Very good batting from Iqbal (122) and good work from Eoghan Conway 80 (11 fours) and Michael Donnelly 71(10 fours; 3 sixes).
With the weather holding up, it did get more overcast & chillier. The target of 346 ( with a runrate of just below 7) was daunting but not impossible with the size of the ground as it is. Especially since the pitch didn't have any demons in it and was nice and hard still.
But with S.Iqbal getting an early break through with the opener being taken behind (fow 13/1 in 1.5 ovrs), it started to slip away for Lurgan. A few hard shots made but in the next over S.Gull got his first victim caught (fow 25/2 in 2.5 ovrs).
Lurgan kept up with the run rate but Sadat Gull got another victim caught (fow 45/3 in 6.4 ovrs). At that stage the opening bowlers started to tighten the screws and the pressure started to build. Gull kept bowling short pitched balls, that managed to exert pressure, provide some chances and also produced wickets. With Iqbal(2/21) bowling in tandem and bowling his last victim (fow 53/4 in 10 ovrs), Lurgan was struggling.
Captain N.Mullen straight away took the fielding Powerplay on offer (overs 11 - 15) and capitalised by S.Gull(3/60) getting his final wicket (fow 53/5 in 10.2 ovrs). The runs dried up and with a change of bowling, D.VanZyl got an LBW within the Powerplay still (fow 60/6 in 13.4 ovrs). The writing looked on the wall for Lurgan, but some hard graft and well fought comeback wasn't enough.
S.Johnston (40) and N.McCollum (33) built a partnership and Rush was getting frustrated a bit but D.VanZyl(2/28) broke it with a catch taken in deep cover (fow 133/7 in 23.5 ovrs). In the next over E.Conway chipped in with a wicket that was brilliantly one handed taken in the slips (fow 135/8 in 24.3 ovrs). With some changing in bowling, A.Iqbal(2/10) took the final 2 wickets to finish the match. His first was caught behind (fow 140/9 in 27..1 ovrs) and with a cameo from S.Walters cutting a few shots before getting out (fow 163/10 in 29.3 ovrs).
Good start for Rush with a very good performance in all 3 departments - great batting, tight bowling and some brilliant fielding.
Rush: N.Mullen(c); P.Sheridan(w/k); M.Donnelly; N.Donnelly; S.Iqbal; E.Sheehan; E.Conway; A.Iqbal; A.Butterly; S.Gull; D.VanZyl
Lurgan: P.Maxwell(c); S.Chambers(w/k); N.Godbole; P.Haire; G.Hunter; R.McCollum; N.McCollum; S.Walters; S.Johnston; M.VanNiekerk; C.Grieve