CRICKET: Top two ready for Irish Senior Cup final battle

Captain of Waringstown Greg Thompson
Captain of Waringstown Greg Thompson

In the last six years only four teams have reached the Irish Senior Cup final – Merrion, Clontarf, Waringstown and The Hills.

Add the fact that between them Waringstown and The Hills have won four of the last six and you get a sense of the magnitude of Saturday’s game at Bready.

Not many arguments that the best two teams in Ireland are in opposition, so will it live up to its billing?

A lot of factors will dictate that; including possibly the toss with an 11.30 start scheduled.

In Ryan Cartwright The Hills possess the most economical bowler in the competition and in Albert van der Merwe the leading wicket taker.

No side has scored more than 144 against them, so let’s not underestimate the difficulty of the task facing Waringstown. Instonians may have thought they had the job done in the semi-final when reducing The Hills to 18-4 but they roared back with half centuries from Max Sorensen, van der Merwe and Cartwright.

Captain Greg Thompson is looking to turn a good season into a great season.

“Except for the Challenge Cup we have reached the final of every cup competition we have played in. Our record is won two lost one, we would love to make it won three lost one and then hopefully win the league the following Saturday,” he said.

“The guys have been training hard, it’s a great mixture of youth and experience, no-one will be playing in their first final and most have won an Irish Cup before, so they know what to expect.

“Bready will be looking to host a great final and we know the amount of work that has gone into the past 10 days,” he added.

“We also know the locals enjoy their cricket so hopefully we will have support there.

“In terms of dangers I could list the whole team, we will give them respect but we know our roles and will look to execute them. This season different guys have put their hands up at different times, tomorrow will be the same.”

I asked Thompson to pick out one player who had perhaps exceeded expectations this summer.

“James Mitchell, who will lead the attack, has had an excellent season. He puts in the hard work, is tremendously fit and simply just gets on with it. If I let him he would bowl all day.

“We are a young squad only two of the team are over 30 and everyone has the appetite for more success.

“We have guys fit and in form and we have been able to manage workloads.

“Shaheen Khan’s injury came at a bad time; he felt something in the T20 semi-final and hasn’t played since, we have wrapped him in cotton wool,” Thompson said.

“He will play but we are unsure about the bowling. He is a huge factor for us and I believe he will play a large part in the final.

“This is his second stint with us he has been brilliant and a massive influence on the changing room.”

There can only be one winner and both sides are battle hardened, let’s hope the final gets the match it deserves.