The match ended off the last ball for the fourth time this season and unfortunately, again Lisburn fell just short by a single wicket.
However, what went on in the earlier stages of the game was quite remarkable as Craig Ervine rewrote the Lisburn record books with a stunning innings of 200 not out striking no less than 20 sixes and 14 boundaries in his 34 overs at the crease. His score was the highest by a Lisburn player in senior cricket beating Gerry Strydom’s 180 at Derriaghy and Amay Khurisaya’s 179 at Downpatrick.
The Zimbabwean gave the large crowd a superb exhibition of clean hitting all round the small ground losing at least half a dozen balls in the process after Lisburn had been asked to bat first on a fine sunny day in the North West.
Robert Rankin again started well hitting a quick 17 before being caught behind the wicket off McClintock and two overs later James Magowan was out in a similar fashion for 7 as Lisburn reached just 26 for 2 in the 5th over. The loss of Richard Simpson for 2 left Lisburn struggling at 52 for 3 but all was to change as Craig Ervine and skipper Davey Simpson got into their stride adding 109 in the next 15 overs before Simpson was caught behind the wicket for a brisk 37 scored off just 55 balls bringing his team back into the game.
The remaining 12 overs of the game were totally dominated by Craig Ervine who simply took the Donamana attack to pieces striking sixes and fours almost at will, some of his sixes would have been sixes on any ground especially one which cleared a bungalow across the road and another deep into the trees over the pavilion.
Ervine lost Adam Berry, lbw to McClintock for 7 during the onslaught but with Glen Halliday he added 99 runs for the last wicket with Halliday contributing just a single. Ervine had reached his century in 124 balls but then scored his second hundred in only 23 balls which in itself must be some sort of record. He completed his first double century off the last ball of the Lisburn innings giving his team a more than useful total of 275 for 54 in their 40 overs.
Even the home support were thrilled by this magnificent innings from Ervine but they also were still hoping for a serious reply from their own hard hitting batsmen and they were not disappointed.
The Donamana openers began in fine style with a flurry of runs in the first 5 overs reaching 52 for the loss of Riddles and Wallace to the bowling of Richard McConkey and Davey Simpson respectively.
The tempo was maintained by the Donamana professional Sajid and Alec McBrine who added a further 33 before Sajid was caught by Richard Simpson at long on for a quick 23. However, McBrine was quick to seize any loose Lisburn bowling and struck a couple of large sixes himself while adding a further 68 with Kee and keeping the pressure on the Lisburn attack which was weakened without the injured Darryl Brown.
Lisburn got two good breaks in the 23 and 25th over when first, Kee was lbw to Mark Berry and then McBrine was caught by Davey Simpson off Craig Ervine as Donamana reached 163 for 5 and when McClintock was bowled by James Magowan Lisburn looked like coming out on top in a game which was always destined to go the distance.
The home side are never short of someone to strike the ball and with the old head of Junior McBrine at the wicket their cause was far from lost. He added some very valuable runs before being caught off a full toss by Magowan at mid wicket for 39 off just 37 balls.
Donemana lost their 7th wicket next ball but McGonigle and number ten Richard Dougherty began to pull the game round again for their side but they still required more than 10 runs per over entering the final 3 overs of a very tense encounter.
The 9th wicket was claimed by Mark Berry who had McGonigle caught by captain Davey Simpson and it was left to the burly Richard Dougherty to take the game into the final over with 12 need of the final 6 deliveries.
Dougherty gained the strike with two balls left and after having failed to score of the penultimate ball he proceeded to hit the last ball into the river to give his team a stunning one wicket victory and a place in the semi final against Waringstown.
For Lisburn, nothing but more disappointment especially after Craig Ervine’s heroic efforts; not many players will score a double century and lose the match but they gave all they had and were involved in one of the epic cricket matches for a long time.
The pick of the Lisburn bowlers were Richard McConkey with 2 for 23 off his 8 excellent overs and Mark Berry who did well under pressure to end well with 2 for 48 off his full quota of 8 overs.