It was the NIACUS turn to host the annual White Stick match and it took place in the familiar surroundings of North Down Cricket Club. The sixteenth meeting of the two sides had the series delicately poised at 8 - 7 to NIACUS.
However North Down was a happy hunting-ground for Leinster who won convincingly there two years ago. Both teams showed very few changes from the sides that took part that day, however there was a notable absentee, namely Paddy O'Hara.
On an overcast and grey day, John Andrews reversed the trend of last year and decided to field first. Of his two opening bowlers it was Paddy Byrne who struck first to claim the wicket of Jarlath McCready, in the third over with the score on five. JF McCall was joined by Alan Neill; Neill had shown in Rathmines the previous year that he's a fine bat, top scoring with a fine 71 not out.
However tight bowling by the Leinster bowlers, especially Joey Mooney (5 runs off 4 overs) meant the pair couldn't score as freely as they would have liked. With the score on 44 in the 15th over JF McCall edged one to slip where it was superbly caught by Willie Dwyer diving full length to his left, fully deserving the Champagne Moment of the match.
Neill was joined by Andrew Bell and the scored doubled as the two put on a very useful 44 runs before Bell (13) was bowled by Bala Kailash. All the time Neill was punishing the poor delivery for four, Urvin Desai being one of the bowlers he was particular severe on. Neill had reached 56 (10 boundaries), when he didn't quite get on top of a delivery from Kailash and drove the ball into the waiting hands of Nigel Parnell at short mid-wicket. A fine innings had come to end and Leinster knew they had a prized wicket.
A return spell of very tight bowling from Mooney and Byrne kept the runs down and 99-4 became 122-5 with five overs left. A wicket in each of the next four overs reduced NIACUS to a 35-over total of 140 for 9. Ernie Extras was second highest top scorer with 26 runs. Pick of the Leinster bowlers were Joey Mooney (3 for 11) and Bala Kailash (3 for 33).
Leinster left the field feeling that they had one hand on The White Stick; restricting NIACUS to a very gettable score was a major achievement and came about due to a combination of tight bowling and good fielding.
After some tea Leinster's innings began with Clive Colleran and John Andrews. However the desire to have a fag was too great and Andrews gave up his wicket with the score on 3, bowled by Keith Smith for 1. Colleran was joined by Urvin Desai and the pair put Leinster back in control of the match with a century stand before Desai (54) was out stumped by Trevor Henry. Desai's 54 came off 29 balls and include 4 fours and 4 sixes.
Henry followed up his fine work behind the stumps with the stumping of Colleran two runs later for 44 (6 fours and one six) off the bowling of Cyril Vennard. Joey Mooney was the next batsman in and his time in the middle was short - out for 4, caught off the bowling of NIACUS Chairman Alan Waugh. However at 116 for 4 Leinster were almost home and dry.
The final wicket to fall was that of Willie Dwyer (20) LBW, off the bowling of Waugh, playing a very ambitious reverse sweep shot to a very slow straight ball. "You miss; I get LBW" springs to mind. David Nugent joined Sean McCann and four balls later McCann hit the winning runs.
Pick of the NIACUS bowlers were Alan Waugh (3 for 29) and Keith Smith (1 for 24).
Next day as Sam Maguire was going North; The White Stick was going South?
|NIACUS v LCU&SA|
|The Green, Comber - Saturday 24th September|
|Umpires: Sam Alexander, Raymond Moreland|
|Scorers: Helen McConaghy, Conor Dillon|
|INNINGS OF NIACUS|
|J F McCall||c W Dwyer b U Desai||14|
|J McCready||b P Byrne||1|
|A Neill *||c N Parnell b B Kailash||56|
|A Bell||b Kailash||13|
|A Clement||st M Dwyer b J Mooney||2|
|N McCarey||c & b J Mooney||16|
|T Henry +||b B Kailash||0|
|K Smith||not out||7|
|A Waugh||b P Byrne||0|
|C Vennard||b J Mooney||4|
|I Reid||not out||1|
|Extras (b 9, lb 2, w 15)||26|
|TOTAL (35 overs) for 9 wkts||140|
|FOW: 1-5 (J McCready), 2-46 (J F McCall),3-88 (A Bell),4-99 (A Neill), 5-122 (A Clement) 6-127 T Henry), 7-129 (N McCarey), 8-130 (A Waugh), 9-137 (C Vennard)|
|INNINGS OF LCU&SA|
|J Andrews *||b K Smith||1|
|C Colleran||st T Henry b C Vennard||44|
|U Desai||st T Henry b A Waugh||54|
|W Dwyer||lbw A Waugh||20|
|J Mooney||c I Reid b A Waugh||4|
|S McCann||not out||7|
|D Nugent||not out||0|
|Extras (b 5, lb 2, w 6)||13|
|Total (24.4 overs )for 5 wkts||143|
|FOW: 1-3 (J Andrews), 2-106 (U Desai), 3-108 (C Colleran), 4-116 (J Mooney), 5-139 (W Dywer)|
M Dwyer+, P Byrne, B Kailash, N Parnell did not bat
|LCU&SA won by 5 wickets|