CIVIL Service North made a painful exit from the Bob Kerr Irish Cup when they failed to defend 252 in 45 overs, losing to Merrion by five wickets.

In the only quarter-final to beat the weather, the 2010 winners got home with three balls to spare thanks to skipper John Anderson's unbeaten 110.

It had all looked so promising for the NCU side at halfway, after professional Griffin Nieuwoudt and former Ireland international Regan West put on 175 for the fourth wicket, the last 100 coming up in just seven overs.

South African Nieuwoudt brought up his century with three successive sixes off Ben Ackland but was out immediately afterwards in the 43rd over. In all he hit five fours and seven sixes.

West was out for 82 (eight fours and two sixes) and when Nigel Jones then bowled Ackland and ran out Damien Poder with just six runs on the board, CSN, in their first quarter final since 1991, were firmly on top.

But first Tim Lang and then Anderson got the upper hand and although Paddy Fisher held a return catch to end Lang's fine innings, Anderson saw Merrion home in a perfectly paced reply.