FOR a change the sun shone brightly on the cricketers at Derriaghy on Saturday for the Intermediate Cup final between Lurgan Seconds and Muckamnore.
However it was the Antrim men who basked in the glory as they won the match comfortably by 64 runs.
It was a team of experienced campaigners that the mainly youthful Lurgan side came up against with Muckamore skipper Ivan McCombe and Man of the Match Simon Thompson making valuable contributions.
It had all started very promisingly for the Town side who lost the toss and were asked to bowl. Peter Maxwell and Chris Courtney had provided limited scoring opportunities but the introduction of Matthew McCormick saw two wickets tumble in his first over, courtesy of a Chris Courtney catch and an lbw decision with the total on 19 after nine overs. The ball was proving hard to get away and at the drinks interval Muckamore were only 49 for two off 20 overs with McCombe and Thompson at the crease and Lurgan seemingly in control.
However immediately after drinks the batsmen upped the tempo and helped by some poor Lurgan bowling soon moved the score along. After McCombe was run out in the 28th over for 32 with the total on 93, Thompson was joined in the middle by Keats who launched an onslaught on the Lurgan attack. Keats had blasted 60 runs in less than 12 overs before he was dismissed by an excellent catch on the fence by Mark McShane. Thompson was run out for an excellent 45, with the Muckamore innings eventually closing on 230 for five wickets.
A total of 46 extras were conceded by Lurgan, 39 of them in wides, a statistic that was going to make it much more difficult to overhaul the total set. Matthew McCormick was the most successful bowler taking two for 44 runs off his eight overs with the most economical being skipper Andrew Bingham who returned figures of 0 for 20 in eight. If the town side were to have a realistic chance of winning the cup then a solid start was needed. Peter Maxwell had just struck a superb cover drive for four when he was adjudged leg before playing forward to the next delivery from Nicholl for five, and Lurgan were 17 for one in the fifth over. Neil Kilpatrick was next to go in the eighth over being clean bowled by Keats for three with the score on 24.
Matthew McCormick then joined Peter Haire at the crease and signalled his intent with a beautiful straight drive back past the bowler for four. Haire and McCormick took the score to 47 before Matthew mistimed a drive off Caldwell to hole out at mid off for 17. At the midway point Lurgan were 73 for three and the required run rate had increased to eight an over.
It proved too much to ask. Peter Haire was caught on the boundary for 34 and despite a spirited 41 not out by Jack Harrison that included two maximums, 230 was a total that was just too many for the Lurgan batsmen and the innings closed on 166 for eight. Despite being disappointed in defeat, Andrew Bingham’s side can be proud of their efforts in reaching the final with the young players in particular putting in a fine effort in the final and learning from the experience.
Lurgan CC would like to thank the Derriaghy club for hosting the final and for their excellent hospitality on the day.
The ball sponsor for the Lurgan side in the Intermediate Cup final was Billy Boyd.