Waringstown emerged with their heads held high despite losing the final of the Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 Cup to CIYMS in the last over on Sunday in front of a large crowd at a sun-splashed Lawn.
The villagers gave Premier League title favourites a massive scare even though they were without both prolific opening batsman James Hall and left-arm spinner Gary Kidd.
After beating North Down in a thrilling semi-final by nine runs, Waringstown batted first against CI at The Lawn in the final.
Without Hall, they didn’t quite get off to the fast start they needed but with Lee Nelson in superb touch, the captain and professional Ruhan Pretorius started to put the CI bowling to the sword.
A cruel piece of luck undid Nelson however, off-spinner Trevor Britton deflecting a drive from Pretorius onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end with Nelson just out of his ground.
He was out for 37 from just 25 balls, including one massive six which sailed over the sightscreens.
From there, Pretorius launched a vicious assault, crashing 71 from 45 balls. He had hit 20 from five James Cameron-Dow deliveries in the 17th over but perished from the six in a dismissal that may have cost the villagers the chance of reaching 200. However 89 from the last seven overs was more than good going.
Waringstown’s final total of 180 was probably around par, but in the first over they missed a golden chance to make an immediate breakthrough as Chris Dougherty was dropped on nought off Pretorius.
Dougherty played very much the junior role alongside Rassie van der Dussen, the South African professional leading what was virtually a one-man charge to the target.
He struck some of the biggest sixes ever seen at The Lawn and when CI reached 142 for one, the result looked to be a formality.
But van der Dussen was lbw to a full delivery from Ruhan Pretorius (2-24) on next ball Johnny Thompson edged behind.
When the last over started CI still needed eight to win, far from a formality, but Kyle McCallan bowled five wides from the first ball and that was the end of that.
Waringstown face a double-header this weekend, starting with the traditionally tricky trip to Ballymena on Saturday. The villagers had lost three successive league matches at Eaton Park until they won narrowly there last season. On Sunday Lee Nelson’s men travel to Strabane in the Ulster Cup.
Gary Kidd, the left-arm spinner, is back in the side after returning from holiday but Andrew Mitchell is unavailable. Young wicketkeeper Marcus McClean is called in for his first experience of senior 50-over cricket. The fitness of opener James Hall will also be assessed.
Ball sponsor at Ballymena is Jim Moore.