Agony for gutsy Gill as Muckamore go so close to double Waringstown triumph

Neil Gill
Neil Gill

As Saturday’s clash at Moylena reached its climax you could not help but be overtaken by a sense of déjà vu.

Two weeks earlier in the Arthur J Gallagher Challenge Cup, Muckamore had clung on to a one-run victory over Waringstown courtesy of a run out with just two balls remaining.

This time it was a role reversal, Waringstown the beneficiaries of a slip by Gary Nicholl with, again, two balls to go. It was apparent what this meant as the roars from the visiting players greeted the raised finger from umpire Mark Hawthorne.

The villagers, who have a knack of close-finish dramas - given the previous weekend’s one-wicket loss at CIYMS with two balls remaining - will hope that this victory provides the impetus to kick-start their season.

The Muckamore innings was bookended by two run-outs from Adam Dennison, arguably the first to dismiss Craig Drummond was the more important. As Waringstown celebrated, the umpires were taking the players off the field for rain after only four balls.

When they returned, rather than facing a target of 215 off 50 overs, Muckamore had a much more challenging 170 from 30 overs. Had Drummond not been run out that total would have been some 15 runs less.

Perhaps Waringstown should have closed this out so much sooner than they did, that they didn’t was down single-handedly to the heroics of Muckamore skipper Neil Gill. As he strode to the middle his side were six wickets down and the required run rate was out of sight.

Before he had time to look up it was 73-7, Paul Eastham departing next ball, leaving Kyle McCallan on a hat-trick. Gill rose to the challenge as first Jamie Magowan and then Aditche Adey gave support.

McCallan took the brunt of the onslaught with the ball disappearing out of the ground on three occasions. Ultimately though, Gill was left a stranded and broken man, 66 not out from 41 balls.

Earlier Dennison once again showed his worth with a patient 67 from 110 balls and shared a partnership of 106 with James McCollum (37).

Waringstown captain Greg Thompson showed his liking for Moylena with another half-century, his unbeaten 55 coming from 49 balls with eight fours.

Gill picked up four for 45 and there were two wickets for Ryan Haire.

Another nerve-jangler in what already has been a high-octane start to the Premier League.