Waringstown reached their third Challenge Cup final in the last four years after a crushing eight-wicket victory over CIYMS at Belmont on Sunday.
Lee Nelson’s team, who had seen their previous attempt to win the semi-final frustrated by the rain a fortnight previously, were always in control of this match.
Arguably the pivotal moment came in the fifth over of the day when Shaheen Khan, Waringstown’s South African professional, deceived his opposite number Rassie van der Dussen with a slower ball which trapped him lbw.
A brilliant piece of fielding from Greg Thompson ran out Steven Clarke to make it 45 for two and then Gary Kidd, who finished with remarkable figures of two for 11 off 10 overs, took the prize wicket of Dougherty as Thompson held a good catch.
Nathan Burns danced down the track to Nelson and was stumped and then a remarkable piece of anticipation from Khan at slip saw John Matchett caught to leave CI 81 for five in the 29th over.
Just about the only period of the match to concern Waringstown came as Nathan Waller launched a blistering assault.
He began the 31st over by launching Lee Nelson for successive sixes and then a four and at the start of the power-play James Hall’s first two balls went for four and another towering six.
Waller’s partnership with Trevor Britton for the sixth wicket was 46 of which Britton’s contribution was just two, but in the 38th over Waringstown had their man as Waller was well caught for 56 by James McCollum off Thompson (3-17).
From 127 for five they could limp to 155 for nine on a pitch described by van der Dussen as the best he had seen at Belmont this summer.
Waringstown’s young batsmen made short work of the target, with McCollum playing some superb shots on his way to a maiden 50 for the club since his winter switch from Lurgan.
The right-hander struck 55 from 77 balls including eight boundaries with James Hall hitting strongly over the top on his way to 30.
Adam Dennison was just as impressive, mixing shrewd placement with previously unseen power as he pulled and drove with equal aplomb.
Dennison finished unbeaten on 58 from 71 balls, hitting two fours and four sixes as Waringstown strolled home with more than 13 overs to spare.
They face Civil Service North at Comber on Friday, August 1.
Sunday’s win followed a league victory over Muckamore on Sunday. The villagers posted 184 all out batting first with McCollum top scoring with 32.
He and Hall added 42 for the first wicket but Waringstown collapsed from 82 for two to 147 for seven but Andrew Mitchell struck 23 to help them to reach respectability.
Phil Eaglestone took three wickets and Khan two for 10 as Muckamore were reduced to 78 for seven in reply.
Waringstown face three crucial matches this weekend.
Tomorrow night (Friday 5.00pm) they host Ballymena in a rearranged Twenty20 Premier League game at The Lawn. This is followed on Saturday by a trip to Comber to face old rivals North Down (12pm start).
The trio of matches is completed by the Ulster Cup quarter-final at home to Donemana at The Lawn on Sunday (1pm start).
Kyle McCallan is back in the squad after returning home from holiday.