2014 could yet turn out to be the unluckiest in living memory for Waringstown’s cricketers.
The villagers were thwarted by the weather in the NCU Challenge Cup final but the bad luck they experienced that day pales into comparison with events at The Lawn on Sunday.
On a day when victory would have secured the NCU Premier League title against their only rivals Instonians, the visitors were two runs away from victory but with their last two batsmen at the crease.
Greg Thompson was bowling the last over and from the first ball drama ensued. Lewis McNamara, the teenager, was on strike, and he scooped the ball up towards mid-wicket and the safe hands of Lee Nelson, the Waringstown captain.
It was going to be a routine catch but with the title beckoning Nelson slipped on the wet surface and the ball landed out of danger. To compound the agony McNamara and his partner Andrew Forbes scrambled a single to draw the scores level.
They managed the same feat off the next ball and Inst had secured a one-wicket victory to take the title race to a deciding game, probably on Saturday, September 13.
With the first game between the sides washed out at Shaw’s Bridge on Saturday, the destination of the title will now come down to that game.
Whoever wins will be champions.
If Waringstown have one regret it will be that their top order batting once again disappointed on the big occasion. They were on the back foot from the start, James Hall and James McCollum were out in the first two overs, and Adam Dennison soon followed.
At 24 for three their backs were firmly against the wall but Nelson and Kyle McCallan turned the innings around with a partnership of 84.
It was slow going however, and when Nelson was caught at mid-off for 52 as he tried to increase the scoring rate, it sparked a disastrous slump.
Greg Thompson was lbw second ball and David Dawson was unfortunate to see the finger raised as he appeared to get outside the line. Most importantly McCallan fell for 60 as he gloved a sweep shot.
They should still have got more than 154 all out however, with crucially nine balls of the innings left unused. Credit goes to Inst for a superb bowling display but if Waringstown had kept their discipline a winning total of around 170 would have been achieved.
They battled brilliantly with the ball and in the field, but despite taking wickets at regular intervals, Inst was always just ahead in the game.
Saturday’s washed out match at Shaw’s Bridge, when Waringstown posted 211 largely thanks to a superb half-century from Greg Thompson and an unbeaten 36 from Jonathan Bushe, will now be rescheduled for September 13.
It will be a Twenty20 fixture and Instonians will now be considered favourites.
However, Wasim, their professional, has returned home and South African Nickolai Smith is also going back to his homeland.
Waringstown seconds recorded an emphatic victory over Instonians at The Lawn on Saturday.
Marcus McClean hit a brilliant unbeaten 119 as Alan Waite’s team posted 214 for two.
That did not look to be anyway big enough as Instonians raced to 129 for two off 23 overs.Their main run scorer was well caught on the boundary by Alan Harrison off the bowling of Stuart Harrsion, prompting an incredible collapse which saw Instonians bowled out for 142. Amid the mayhem Morgan Topping returned the excellent bowling figures of seven for 24.