Junior Cup semi-final review
David Holmes (Total Cricket)
If this season has taught me anything it should have been not to make plans; but on Saturday I had a plan. Two Junior Cup semi-finals, evenly matched sides in both, so start at Laurelvale take in the first innings and then off to Wallace Park and see the second innings there.
Seems relatively straightforward until I tweet my second update of the score from the Laurelvale Cooke Collegians game to see CIYMS IIís are 30 for 5 against Lisburn IIís. My initial reaction was that is 30 runs off 5 overs but on further investigation it is now 36 for 8 after 17, there goes my second innings theory.
CI were all out for 46, Lisburn made 50 for the loss of one wicket and the game in its entirety was over before 2.30PM.
So, as I was not there I thought I would talk to someone who was. Now Lisburnís Michael Foster had told me last week that Calum Atkinson was key with the ball, he took 3 for 12 and that Glenn Halliday was due a score, he made 30 not out, so I thought no point talking to Mystic Michael!
Instead I turned to Steve McChesney, another seasoned campaigner but this time one of the hugely disappointed CI players:
ďIt is probably worse to lose a semi-final than a final and that really was a disappointing day. I said before the game in the changing room that we needed to play the game and not the occasion and perhaps that is what we didnít do.
We have been scoring runs freely all season, so when we won the toss there was no hesitation in deciding to bat. We lost a wicket first ball to Calum Atkinson and it was almost as though the momentum swung straight away, but the real game changer was when Neil McDowell came on as first change.Ē
Statistically it was three wickets for Atkinson, McDowell took 4 for 9 and Foster chipped in with 2 for 4, so looks like the Lisburn bowling was really firing then:
ďTo be honest we were completely outplayed, no complaints the better team won on the day. The fielding was absolutely superb and I donít think they bowled a loose ball in the innings. Yes we were missing a couple of players and perhaps a wiser head like Richard Lucas may have made some difference.
The best thing I think we can do is chalk it up to a bad day at the office, hopefully though a lot of the younger boys will learn from it. I am also disappointed for the guys who were not there and the club as a whole; with the final due to be played at Belmont it would have been a great occasion.Ē
So what of the game I was at. Again perhaps somewhat surprisingly Laurelvale skipper David Sinton won the toss and decided to bat. It was a decent start for Laurelvale with 27 off the first 6 overs until Daryl Henry pulled Richard Johnson to square leg.
This brought Craig Irwin to the wicket against his former club and I think both sides realised that he was the key man. It was hard work and Laurelvale made slow progress reaching 65 for 3 at the drinks break.
It was also a most Irwin unlike innings as he was 12 not out from 46 balls, perhaps the sort of knock CI would have liked at Wallace Park.
To be fair the Cooke Collegians bowlers stuck to their task and Greg Lucy and Graeme Pollock bowled 20 overs between them costing just 38 runs.
Chris Webb and Irwin added 76 for the 4th wicket until Webb now trying to force the pace was caught by Stephen Leckey off the bowling of Kamil Naidoo for 30.
Irwin, by now was looking to up the tempo, hitting Naidoo for 4 and 6 in consecutive balls as he moved to 47. With the first ball of the next over, Gareth Kidd his old batting partner at Cooke Collegians struck off an inside edge as he attempted to clear the infield. In all he had faced 85 balls.
The home side were 134 for 6 with only 6 overs remaining; Lee Edgar (19) and David Sinton (21) with some good running between the wickets brought the final tally up to 171-6.
Given the low scores I was hearing from around the grounds I thought this was a total that Laurelvale had a chance to defend. A wicket each for Jordan Lyttle and Lee Edgar put the home side slightly ahead at 18 for 2 off 8 overs.
Kidd and Leckey set about rebuilding and in the 14th over Leckey suddenly opened up hitting 3 fours. The aerial route was to be Kiddís downfall as he tried to hit Henry over the top and was caught at long on, 65 for 3.
In the 29th over the visitors brought up their 100 and Leckey his 50; but then he skied one off Gary Murphy and captain Sinton took the catch, back in the balance again. Just as in the Laurelvale innings the change bowlers were applying the pressure and Simon Hughes bowled his 10 overs for 28 and was rewarded with the wicket of Lucy.
Now it was Johnson and Johnson in the middle, brothers Richard and Chris. Chris eased himself into the game with his first scoring shot a straight six into the trees. His second scoring shot was also a six into the trees but then Richard holed out to McAlinden off Lyttle.
Just when you thought Cooke Collegians were taking control they would lose a wicket, then we had the Laurelvale mouse stage a pitch invasion! Johnson had time for one more huge six this time off Henry and then fell to Sinton with just 8 required to win.
Despite a couple more nervy moments Stinson struck the winning boundary and David Sintonís men came up short at the semi-final stage similar to last season. They may be left to wonder if either or both of Michael Burns and Andrew Magennis would have made the difference.
Richard Johnson, Cooke Collegians captain was delighted with the victory but by the end he was an exhausted man, having flown in from America that morning to play in the game, celebration was the last thing on his mind.