Rathmines on Saturday 21st September was a glorious, bright sunny day, and the umpires were in short sleeves throughout - a welcome change from the rest of the season! The match was one of the tensest for years as the ten men of LCUA fought their way to a win with nine runs scored in the last over and seven wickets down. Last man, Gerry Lyons, was only able to hold a bat one handed because of a damaged hand.
The LCUA team was considerably stiffened by of six debutants and a total of seven Fingallians. (NIACUS had four debutants). Off the field LCUA were almost as strong with the alickadoo contingent consisting of The President, Liam Keegan, Brian Carpenter, John Heavey, Robert Mac Clancy, Rodney Molins, Ronnie O'Reilly, Peter Thew and Alan Tuffery.
The NIACUS innings began disastrously as Paddy Byrne with the first ball of the second over deceived JE McCall for a 'golden duck' with only two extras in the book after Tommy Mooney's opening maiden over. McCall has so often been a steady scorer for NIACUS, so it was a relief to see the back of him for once.
LCUA had to wait until the tenth over for further success when, with the score on 44, McNally was lured into indiscretion by Lyons. Kennedy was immediately comfortably run out for 4 runs after one biff and 44-0 had become 48-3.
The NIACUS batsmen continued on their merry way picking up around five runs an over, with McCauley providing solidity. An unexpected bonus was the dismissal of the dashing Trevor Henry who, as in Laurelvale in 1999, fell lbw, this time to the aggressive Paddy Byrne. NIACUS continued briskly to 140-7 and then suddenly a clatter of wickets strangled the thrash.
The hurlers on the ditch were muttering darkly that 146 to win was remote, but put their faith in the steel of last year's debutants, Andrews, Colleran and Dwyer and the renowned resolve of Fingallians reared with the story of the 1932 Fingal Cup Final in their ears.
Roland Bradley and Clive Colleran got off to a great start, playing sensibly and punishing the bad ball to bring up 42 when the former was bowled. Nine runs later Willie Dwyer was too ambitious and was also bowled after a violent cameo while Colleran looked on determinedly.
Colleran and Martin Russell battled on to 79 in the face of very accurate bowling until in the 18th over Colleran was bowled. Russell was well caught in the next over and from prosperity, disaster loomed. Matt Sheridan came and went and the alickadoos were ready lose heart. Billy Goodwin stopped the rot and hung around while John Andrews, with a stirring combination of restraint and power, brought LCUA back into the game.
NIACUS were looking desperate and field changes were being made with frantic frequency. Goodwin was dismissed with 45 runs wanted off 6 overs - surely too much to do now. But Andrews was still there and he and Mooney brought the score to 131 when Andrews was bowled for the highest score of the match.
With an over and four balls left to go and 15 runs to get, LCUA hearts sank and NIACUS perked up no end and were plainly quietly confident. Although he had been in for a while, Mooney had looked scratchy, missing a couple of long-hops and full-tosses, but was canny and Paddy Byrne was full of confidence.
Byrne got down the pitch to his first ball and worked it to leg for a single to give Mooney the strike. A three off the next ball. and a dot ball to Byrne. Eleven wanted off seven balls. A well-placed ball for two and Mooney was on strike for the last over with nine wanted. The tension was appalling both on and off the field.
Not a sound as McNally set off for the first ball - four runs! The second ball goes the same way to tie the scores. Mutterings all round about fewer wickets lost. Mooney blocks the third ball; three to come. The fourth is worked round the corner - surely a run, it was at least five metres away from the keeper.
Byrne and Mooney coolly turn it down. The fifth ball - Mooney strains after one on the off side and looks aggrieved that was not called wide to end it all. One to get off the final ball. No bother! The tension is released with a creamy off drive for a comfortable two - but one will do!
Leinster joy was unconfined at their first win since 1997. The scorecard is below. Learn it. Recite it to your children and grandchildren and curse yourselves if you were not there that glorious day!
Even the losers' chagrin was a touch moderated by the joy in a great match in a great game played in splendid conditions on an excellent turf pitch.
The hand of the President was on the hospitality - it was generous to a fault. The splendid catering was done by Ms Colette Colleran and Ms Yvonne Laing of Leinster CC. Spirits were high as the sun set and the true camaraderie of cricket was much in evidence as intended by those who had the foresight to establish the match back in 1989 - Liam Keegan and the late lamented Dai Davies and George Archer.
|Match played at Rathmines|
|Result: LCUA won by 2 wickets|
|Series: LCUA 7 wins; NIACUS 7 wins.|
|J F McCall||c Magee b Henry||0|
|J F McCall||c Colleran b Lyons||18|
|JE McCall||b Byrne||0|
|R McNally||b Lyons||18|
|D Kennedy||run out||4|
|C McCauley||not out||16*|
|C Vennard||b Goodwin||20|
|T Henry lbw||b Byrne||14|
|J McCready||b Dwyer||21|
|J Briggs||b Andrews||5|
|A Waugh||b Dwyer||1|
|PL O'Hara (c)||run out||0|
|Extras (Byes 5, Leg-byes 9, no-balls 1, Wides 13)||28|
|Total (10 wickets, 29.3 overs)||145|
|R Bradley||b Kennedy||29|
|C Colleran||b Vennard||27|
|W Dwyer||b Vennard||9|
|M Russell||c JE McCall b McNally||13|
|M Sheridan||b McNally||2|
|J Andrews (c)||b Briggs||31|
|W Goodwin||c&b Vennard||3|
|T Mooney||not out||20*|
|P Byrne||not out||3*|
|Extras (Byes 3 Leg-byes 1 Wides 3||10|
|Total (7 wickets, 30 overs)||146|