After last year's last-ball victory by LCUA, it was too much to hope for another nail-biter and so it proved to be as LCUA surged to a win by 99 runs. The NIACUS purge following their 2002 defeat saw the "promotion" of Paddy O'Hara to manager and seven new caps.
LCUA were strengthened still further by the increase in the Fingal contingent as more of them take up umpiring; and also by Adrian Murphy, late of Barbados, Leinster CC and Railway Union.
This was the first match played at Comber in splendid facilities with the best (turf) pitch ever seen in this competition and the day grew warmer and brighter to give a glorious end to a wonderful summer.
Skipper John Andrews opened the batting in typically belligerent style but was deceived by the third ball he received from the wily Cyril Vennard _ long a scourge of LCUA ? with 14 on the board. Roland Bradley joined Clive Colleran and they proceeded steadily and without alarm until the 18th over when Bradley was tidily caught and bowled by McNally with the score on 74.
A series of bowing changes made little difference to Colleran whose eye was in or Joey Mooney who can read a game of cricket. Together they brought the score to 163 when Colleran was out for a magnificent 81 (eight fours). Mooney careered to his 50 in only 39 balls.
Adrian Murphy who replaced Colleran was cavalier and made 23 off 18 balls, including a wonderful straight six into the adjoining ground, before being bowled by the persevering Neill.
There was time for cameos from Martin Russell, who edged the boundary that brought up the first 200 total in the series, Paddy Byrne with a massive six over mid-wicket and Sean McCann with 6 not out of his only three balls. (McCann was so keen to play that he rang the skipper delightedly when his refixed league match was cancelled and drove straight to the ground.)
For NIACUS McCall set out to anchor the innings as usual but by the fourth over only four runs were on the board when Goodwin got one to strike to the top of the off stump to dismiss the new captain Ian Houston for just three runs. Alan Neill found the going tough at first against Goodwin and the astute Tommy Mooney but brought the total to 31 before McCall was out for a painstaking 14.
Reggie McNally rightly decided to get on with it and batting was definitely easier against Nigel Parnell and Martin Russell. The flight and occasional extravagant turn from Parnell's leg-spin kept the batsman guessing and after an expensive first over he settled and finished with commendable figures of 3 for 40 of his allotted seven overs.
The critical wicket was that of McNally who watched in horror as he popped the ball towards short square leg where wicket-keeper John Andrews to a superb rolling catch that was the Champagne Moment. Russell, too, was steadiness itself and the batsmen had to take risks to get him away. By the time they had finished NIACUS were reduced to 106 for six wickets.
The last rites were performed by Paddy Byrne with a maiden and Sean McCann whose third ball accounted for Alvin Maginnis. With Trevor Henry injured while keeping wicket and unable to bat an overwhelming victory was complete and Leinster 2000 was avenged.
LCUA's plenty on the field was match by their supporters: The President, Liam A Keegan, Hon. Life Member John Behan, Norman Adams, Eldon Gilmour and Gerry Lyons. The catering was timely generous and imaginative.
The after-match speeches remembered those great originators of the match - Liam Keegan and the late lamented Dai Davies and George Archer - and the benefits the excellent relations between our two associations that has flowed from participation in or great game over the last 15 years.
|Match played at Comber|
|Result: LCUA won by 99 runs|
|Series: LCUA 7 wins; NIACUS 7 wins.|
|J Andrews (c)||st Henry b Vennard||9|
|C Colleran||st McNally b Vennard||81|
|R Bradley||c&b McNally||18|
|J Mooney||c Hawthorne b Neill||4|
|A Murphy||b Neill||23|
|M Russell||st McNally b Smith||4|
|P Byrne||not out||9*|
|S McCann||not out||6*|
|W Goodwin||Did not bat|
|T Mooney||Did not bat|
|N Parnell||Did not bat|
|Extras (Byes 14, Leg-byes 3, Wides 4)||21|
|Total (6 wickets, 35 overs)||220|
|J F McCall (c)||b Goodwin||14|
|I Houston||b Goodwin||3|
|A Neill||c Murphy b T Mooney||9|
|R McNally||c Andrews b Parnell||28|
|M Hawthorne||run out (Murphy)||2|
|N McCarey||c T Mooney b Parnell||8|
|K Smith||c Colleran b Parnell||31|
|C Vennard||c McCann b Russell||17|
|S Hillis||not out||6*|
|A Maginnis||b McCann||6*|
|T Henry||Absent hurt|
|Extras (Byes 3 Leg-byes 1 Wides 13||17|
|Total (9 wickets, 29.3 overs)||121|
|Man of the Match: Clive Colleran|
|Champagne Moment: John Andrews (catch)|
|Umpires: David Caldwell, Harry Henderson|
|Scorers: RAlan Tuffery, Peter White|