St Mary's and St Andrew's contest final
Billy Siggins (CricketEurope)
THE Leinster Schools Senior Cup final is, as expected, a repeat of last year’s classic encounter between St Mary’s College and St Andrew’s College.
This year’s final takes place on Thursday at 11am in Leinster CC, Rathmines.
St Andrew’s got there after a 99-run trouncing of Sandford Park, with Jack Balbirnie making his third score over 60 of the competition.
This time he made 67 before he was stumped by Tom Nolan off Seán Stanton.
St Andrew’s got off to a flyer with pinch-hitting Rory Nicholls, who had made 38 off 17 balls when he was out with the score at 42!
The YMCA man hit four sixes and two fours before he was caught and bowled by Tom Stanton.
His opening partner Aaron Bailey made a more sedate 20, while James Meier chipped in with 15 in a total of 177-9.
The Stanton brothers accounted for most of the wickets, with Seán taking 3-40 and Tom 2-29.
St Andrew’s won the game in the first ten overs – Sandford were just 24-2 – with Aaron Bailey (6-3-6-2) and Cameron Shoebridge (6-1-19-3) in fine form.
Jack Tector, who went wicketless with the ball, went just one better with the bat. He and Nathan Johns together faced 30 balls and scored just one run.
Little brother Harry battled on for 16, while Tom Stanton (15) and Tom Nolan (23) put a brave face on the inevitable defeat.
Belvedere College’s total of 82-7 was never going to be enough, with Rory Sullivan (19no), Tom Arnold (15) and Luke Smith (15) repairing the innings when the Delany twins went early.
The Hoeys were again impressive with Mikey returning 8-2-10-2 and Benn 8-2-13-2.
St Mary’s lost the wickets of Danny Hogan (19) and Michael Hogan (11) but Gareth Delany stayed to see them home on 37no, while Benn Hoey was unbeaten on 10.
Last year’s final was labelled the strongest line-up in the competition’s long history, with almost all the 22 players playing adult club cricket, and several established senior players in Cricket Leinster.
But if a further year’s worth of experience – including many representative games for Leinster and Ireland – counts for anything, then this year’s final is even better.
This is St Andrew’s fourth final on the trot, but their win in 2011 has been followed by two defeats.
St Mary’s surprised them last year, with Tom Lynch’s 91 seeing them home, but St Andrew’s got some revenge when they met earlier in this competition.
On that occasion Andrews made 169-6, with Jack Balbirnie making an unbeaten 67 while Gareth Delany took 3-28. St Mary’s were bowled out for 118, with Balbirnie taking 4-39 and Aaron Bailey 3-23.
St Mary’s previous wins were widely spread – 1916, 1948, 1974 and 2013 – so their players will be keen to be the only boys from the school ever to win two senior cups
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