WARINGSTOWN’S hopes of a first ever Ulster Cup success are over after a thrilling and controversial one wicket defeated by Brigade at Beechgrove on Sunday.
Just eight days after the villagers edged out the North West club in a classic Irish Cup tie at Beechgrove, it was Brigade’s turn to write one of the great Ulster Cup comeback stories.
Chasing Waringstown’s 192 for six in 40 overs, the home side appeared to be down and out on 114 for eight.
With surely their last remaining hope Johnny Thompson gone for 54, you would have got mighty long odds on Brigade’s name appearing in the semi-final draw.
But their unlikely hero was Mark Snodgrass, who smashed an unbeaten half-century from the number nine position.
As Waringstown visibly relaxed, seemingly certain of their place in the last four, Snodgrass refused to take defeat lying down. He added 67 for the ninth wicket in a nerveless stand with Graeme Moore (28) to take Brigade to within 12 runs of the most unlikely of victories.
However, there were several late twists as first Moore finally went, caught superbly on the boundary at deep mid-wicket by Lee Nelson off Glen Addicott to make it 181 for nine.
Then there was real controversy in the penultimate over as a throw from the deep struck the bat of Brigade number 11 Nick Donnell as he tried to make his ground. Donnell and Brigade went against cricket tradition by taking a third run, much to Waringstown’s fury.
That left Brigade needing six from the final over to be bowled by Nelson and from the Ireland A all-rounder’s second delivery, Snodgrass decided matters by smashing a full toss against the pavilion roof to seal a one-wicket win. The youngster’s remarkable unbeaten 51 from 60 balls including four fours and three sixes.
Earlier in the day Waringstown saw their progress slowed by Brigade’s spinners on a pitch that was being used for the fifth time. James Hall (44) and Nelson (40) gave the villagers a solid platform but they also got bogged down against Iftikhar Hussain, who bowled his eight overs for just 12 runs.
The game’s most important moment came when Addicott, at the venue where he plundered a memorable century in the Irish Cup, was given out lbw to a delivery that was heading well over the top of the stumps. Had Addicott even spent a fraction of time at the crease, Waringstown would almost certainly have been out of sight.