Waringstown have been crowned champions of Ireland for the fourth time after an 107-run victory over Merrion at The Lawn today.
In the course of beating the Dubliners, Lee Nelson’s team completed a remarkable double on the same day.
North Down’s defeat to Instonians earlier in the afternoon meant they had already been confirmed as NCU Premier League champions.
The victory was inspired by Greg Thompson and South African JP de Villiers, the former rescuing Waringstown from the perils of 51 for three with a brilliant 78.
And then De Villiers, signed as a short-term replacement for his countryman Ruhan Pretorius, ripped through the Merrion top order as they chased Waringstown’s imposing total of 276 for seven.
De Villiers took four for 23, including the prize scalp of David Langford-Smith, just as the former Ireland international was threatening an unlikely comeback with a blistering 70 from just 65 balls.
Merrion had been reeling on 35 for five but Langford-Smith’s century stand with Michael Lewis was starting to make it interesting, even though Merrion’s star batsman John Anderson was basically unable to bat because of a broken finger.
But de Villiers returned to the attack to bowl Langford-Smith and it was quick at the end as Kyle McCallan took three for 31 as Merrion were dismissed for 169, their last four wickets falling for 14 runs.
Earlier, Nelson (46) had played a pivotal role, his fourth-wicket stand of 103 with Thompson taking Waringstown past 150.
Dom Joyce took four wickets, including that of de Villiers after a quickfire 31 including three sixes, but McCallan (30 no), David Dawson and Jonathan Bushe all played a useful hand in the closing overs.
De Villiers was voted man-of-the-match but it could easily have been Thompson after probably his best innings for the club.