Irish Cup reprieve for Fox Lodge?
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
Fox Lodge are set to be reinstated in the Irish Cup, despite their first round exit on Saturday.
Ben Speake, who batted throughout Co Galway's reply in their successful run chase at Ballymagorry, is registered as the Terenure professional and the rules of the competition state that he cannot play for a team in another provincial area to the one in which he resides.
The 25-year-old New Zealander hit 87 not out in the Westerners' shock victory as they reached their revised target of 174 in 34 overs with 11 balls to spare.
Speake also bowled seven overs, taking one for 34, as Fox Lodge were bowled out for 210.
But the Cricket Ireland Cricket Committee will now want to know why he was playing for Co Galway in the same tournament that Terenure effectively withdrew from after refusing to travel to Bready.
Waringstown are the other interested party in the result because if Galway go through the Villagers would have a home second round match on Saturday week because, like Terenure ironically, Galway's home ground has only a matting pitch which is not permitted in the Irish Cup.
So, although drawn away, Waringstown would have been given home advantage.
Now if, as expected, Fox Lodge take their place in the last 16, the Villagers will have to travel to the North West.
The Foxes would bring their area's representation to four after Strabane beat Railway Union by seven wickets, a Leinster club's first defeat in the competition.
The area which has won 13 of the last 14 finals will provide exactly half of the teams in the second round after Malahide and Merrion added the scalps of two of the NCU's big hopefuls, Instonians and CIYMS.
The league champions included two debutants at Malahide with 17-year-old Tom Luke introduced as the sixth bowler and he picked up two wickets in his two-over spell, but the damage had been done early by former Ireland international Reinhardt Strydom (55) and Felix Page (60) as the home side posted 246 for nine.
Instonians then slumped to 104 for seven and despite 38 from 37 balls from temporary professional Ryan Nurse, there was no way back as they lost their second cup tie in successive days - their NCU T20 Cup hopes now in the balance after they were bowled out for 72 at Carrickfergus.
CIYMS, who confirmed their place in the T20 semi-finals with a three wickets win over Civil Service North, got themselves into a great position on Saturday to overhaul Merrion's 271.
However, after Nigel Jones (43) was fifth out in the 45th over with the total on 241, they could only reach 258 for eight. Young John Matchett, batting as usual at No 3, top scored with 55 from just 63 balls with eight fours.
Less than 24 hours after starring with the ball for Leinster Lightning - when he took five wickets in a T20 match, Tyrone Kane launched the Merrion innings with 73.
It could have been even worse for CI but for Johnny Thompson taking five for 47.