North Down win to set up cup decider with holders CIYMS

North Down captain Alistair ShieldsNorth Down captain Alistair Shields
North Down captain Alistair Shields
North Down will face holders CIYMS in the LVS Twenty20 Cup final after they recorded an emphatic 49-run victory over Waringstown at The Lawn on Sunday, writes Johnny Morton.

Following on from a Robinson Services Cup win over Woodvale the previous day, the Comber side won the toss and batted first, posting a total of 128/6 with captain Alistair Shields (59) leading the way.

Paul Stirling (29 from 17) made a quick start on debut before he was caught off the bowling of James Mitchell, who was the star of a Waringstown bowling attack alongside Morgan Topping (3-12) and Gary Kidd (1-11) that lost Phil Eaglestone before the game due to injury and Kyle McCallan during it after he was struck on the face by the ball at slip in the 13th over.

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Waringstown’s reply never got going with James Hall (20) the only man in the top seven to reach double figures as the home side were dismissed for 79 which meant they missed out on the showpiece decider for the first time since 2014.

The spinning duo of Stirling (3-7) and Carl Robinson (2-20) did most of the damage by taking out all of their opponent’s top five between them before Craig Young (2-11) returned to finish the game off.

It’ll be North Down’s third final in four years when they return to The Lawn on August 23 and Shields was delighted with the performance his side put in.

“We are delighted with that and to be in another final,” he said.

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“The boys, particularly in the second innings, showed their class with the ball with the variations. I think it was a big toss looking back – winning that was a big advantage for us.

“It was always going to be tough to chase and we squeezed really well.”

There was a bumper crowd present to watch Stirling’s first game in his new club colours with the Irish international fresh off scoring 142 against England during the week.

He had struck four fours and a six before he was smartly caught at point by a diving Greg Thompson but the 29-year-old had a big say with the ball and it was his spell that turned the game as he dismissed Hall, Thompson and Adam Dennison.

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“I thought it looked ominous for them at the start,” added Shields.

Stirlo showed his class and he’s a proper off-spinner.

“That was crucial for us taking those three big wickets at the top of the order and it was always going to be a losing battle from there.”

Shields continued his own good form by batting through the majority of the innings, hitting his runs from 48 deliveries before he was run out off the second last ball.

It continues a fine run which has brought him 210 runs from six innings but his contribution on Sunday was the most important so far.

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“I don’t want to scud myself but hopefully they keep coming!” he said.

“It was tough enough out there. It was spinning and one of those that you had to grind out and then get the rewards at the end so it was pleasing.”

They will now take on champions CIYMS, who progressed past Lisburn by six wickets at Belmont thanks to two wickets apiece from Ted Britton, James Cameron-Dow and Jacob Mulder before Chris Dougherty scored 28* as they chased a target of 75 with eight balls to spare.

The pair will come up against each other twice in a weekend with their Robinson Services Cup fixture falling on August 22 and the final one day later.

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It is set to be a thrilling encounter, especially if both teams are at full-strength, and Shields is looking forward to the challenge.

“It should be a good one,” he added.

“They are another good side and they’ve gone well in the Twenty20 Cup in recent years. It’s good to get to another final and the better team will win on the day.”


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