Clontarf and The Hills to contest Irish Cup final
The Hills reached the final of the RSA Irish Senior Cup following a thrilling three runs win against North Down at Comber.
Nazeer Shaukat showed the value of experience as his death bowling proved the crucial difference between the teams.
Whereas North Down had haemorrhaged runs in the last few overs of the The Hills innings, the wily Shaukat restricted the hosts to just four from the final six deliveries to eny the Comber side their first final appearance in 19 years.
It represented a stunning fightback by the 2012 winners, who looked dead and buried after North Down had advanced to 126 without loss and 151 for 1 chasing 224 for victory.
Semi-finals are notoriously nervy affairs, and North Down got increasingly edgy as the finishing line grew tantalisingly close, before they stumbled and fell much to the despair of their supporters.
Manu Kumar (2-26) was their hero, dismissing openers Johnny Terrett and Nick Larkin (60), following up his late blitz which saw him hit 27 from just 15 deliveries.
Max Sorensen had struck a typically belligerent 70 from just 57 balls (6 sixes, 5 fours) as he top scored in the Milverton sides 223 for 8.
It looked below par at the half-way stage, but despite being below par, The Hills summoned enough resilience to eke out the narrow win.
It should be a fascinating all Leinster tussle between themselves and Clontarf - two renowned cup specialists with little to separate them.
Bill Coghlan scored a magnificent 134 as defending champions Clontarf won a last over thriller against fierce rivals Pembroke to reach the final of the RSA Irish Senior Cup.
The Leinster Lightning star hit 14 fours and 5 sixes in his 134 from 125 balls, to help Clontarf chase down a challenging Pembroke total of 255 for 8.
It was left to the experienced Joe Morrissey (26*) to get Clontarf over the finishing line, as the veteran all-rounder struck two boundaries off Barry McCarthy in the final over to seal the win, much to the delight of the large crowd.
It was heart-break time for the young Pembroke side who had battled manfully, with two wickets apiece for Lawson (2-32), McCarthy (2-48) and Cooke (2-58).
A solid batting effort from the Sydney Parade side had seen the top 8 all reach double figures, with Cook top scoring with 64 from 86 balls , aided by Lorcan Tucker (39) and Robin Russell (35).
Conor D'Arcy (3-33) bowled with great control, while there were two wickets apiece for Andrew Poynter (2-47) and Bill Coghlan (2-55).
There's an added bonus for Clontarf in that they will have home advantage for the final, after Cricket Ireland confirmed Castle Avenue for the showpiece occasion next Saturday (August 23).
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