Gill delight as Muckamore clinch Shield
David Holmes (News Letter)
As Muckamore captain Neil Gill put it, it would be hard to write a script that would match up to the drama of their dramatic victory in the Ulster Shield Final on Sunday against Eglinton at Limavady. With the scores tied it all came down to who had lost fewer wickets and that was Muckamore with 5 down as opposed to Eglinton’s seven.
Make no mistake this was a tremendous performance from the NCU side as Eglinton sit on top of North West Section Two and are undefeated in their own domain. For Muckamore this was their fourth victory in the Ulster Shield and equally remarkable is the fact that a North West team has yet to win it.
Gill won the toss and elected to bat and it could not have been a worse start; both Richard Keates and Craig Drummond back in the hutch for “golden ducks and the score 0 for 2 after 4 overs. Things had not improved much by drinks at 20 overs, just 30 odd for 2.
After that Muckamore professional Kamtekar and Connor Breet put the foot to the floor boards and 153 runs came off the last 20 overs. Breet with 60 and Kami 61 shared a century partnership and Bryan Dunlop and Trevor Neill chipped in with vital runs at the end.
Like Muckamore Eglinton were off to the worst possible start at 5 for 2, both wickets to Gill, but when you have players of the calibre of
Stephen Smyth, Richard Wylie and Nigel Thompson in the line up the game was far from over.
As the run rate crept up over 10 though Gill was starting to feel like it was going their way and bravely stuck with his spinners right to the end. Breet bowled the last over and 10 were required to win, but Eglinton could only manage 9.
Smyth was still there finishing on 55 with the game tied, in fact Muckamore thought they had won by one run but then the umpires had to go off and consult the rulebook before declaring them the winners on fewer wickets lost.
Breet picked up the man of the match award and Gill was absolutely elated with the result;
“What a day and what a night, I think we were still going at 4 AM. That is the best game of cricket that I have played in. It has been a good season for us and they are a top side, last season I think we would probably have lost this one but we are developing.
Somebody asked me would I captain again next year and I said I plan to be around for the next 10 years! I am loving this, the added responsibility is making me a better player and I really want to give this club the stability to build a platform and go on from here.
Next up is the National Cup Final on 2 September at The Hills against Balbriggan, we will have Jason van der Merwe back from Australia for that one and I believe we can win that as well.”
Just as well Neil is a salesman for Lucozade I suspect he needed plenty of the product on Monday.