Cricket: Waringstown go down to defeat in Irish Cup final

Dave Langford-Smith celebrates the wicket of Lee Nelson Dave Langford-Smith celebrates the wicket of Lee Nelson. Pic by Barry Chambers

Dave Langford-Smith celebrates the wicket of Lee Nelson Dave Langford-Smith celebrates the wicket of Lee Nelson. Pic by Barry Chambers

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Waringstown’s bid to retain the Irish Senior Cup ended in disappointment as Merrion beat them by 56 runs at Castle Avenue.

The villagers, looking to draw level with North County as the all-time leading winners of the competition, were left to rue a brilliant hundred from old foe John Anderson.

John Anderson celebrates his match-winning hundred

John Anderson celebrates his match-winning hundred

The South African-born Ireland international was the scourge of Waringstown with a ton in the 2010 semi-final between the clubs and he struck 109 from 128 balls as Merrion made 252 for nine batting first after being inserted.

That represented a fightback from Waringstown as at one stage the Dubliners, 142 for two in the 32nd over, looked poised for a total around 300.

But a run chase of more than 250 in a cup final is never an easy proposition and with Merrion bowling a more accurate line than their opponents, Waringstown never truly got into their stride with the bat.

James McCollum, clearly short of fitness after a recent foot injury, was bowled attempting a big hit and then crucially professional Cobus Pienaar was caught behind as he wafted outside off-stump.

James Hall looked in decent touch but just as he and Lee Nelson appeared to be repairing the early damage, the opener inexplicably charged down the pitch and was stumped off Tom Stanton for 37.

Just about the only period when Waringstown appeared to be getting on top was a 52-run partnership between Nelson and key man Greg Thompson for the fourth wicket.

The latter looked to be getting into his stride with a superb six over the pavilion but on 20 he went, given out lbw to Dave Langford-Smith. Thompson gestured that he hadn’t hit it but umpire Azam Ali Baig, who had earlier reprieved Dom Joyce in debatable circumstances, raised his finger.

The game was virtually up a short while later as Nelson, after batting well for his 48 from 68 balls was held by the excellent Langford-Smith off his own bowling.

Thereafter Merrion turned the screw and Anderson’s inspired innings aside, they deserved the win for the way they bowled and fielded better than their opponents.

Waringstown can look back on certain key moments, the decision to reprieve Joyce on 46 off James Mitchell being one as the opener looked as surprised as anyone to be given not out.

Likewise Anderson, despite his brilliance, was fortunate to escape an lbw shout when he was trapped in front by Kyle McCallan just before he reached 50. Alan Neill, the umpire, was unmoved.

Waringstown fought valiantly to restrict the relegation-threatened Dubliners, and only three batsmen reached double figures, but Anderson marshalled the innings perfectly, striking 15 boundaries before he was run out in the 47th over from a Thompson direct hit.