CIYMS lifted the famous NCU Challenge Cup trophy tonight for the first time in their history after a thrilling victory over Instonians at Comber.
It was the tale of the South Africans as first Rassie van der Dussen struck a brilliant century, his second in two days, to help CI post 259 for seven batting first.
And in the Instonians run chase James Cameron-Dow, the left-arm spinner, was the CI hero, taking four for 17 as Inst were dismissed for 195 chasing a revised target of 246 in 46 overs.
The final victory margin was harsh on the losers, who produced a gallant effort to chase down the target. However, their hopes were dented when Neil Russell, the captain, was struck on the head attempting to hook a Johnny Thompson bouncer.
It was a sickening blow and Russell was forced to retire hurt, and after Nikolai Smith was run out attempting a risky single, almost everything appeared to rest on the shoulders of Andrew White and James Shannon.
White initially played watchfully but he inexplicably charged down the track in Cameron-Dow’s first over, never got close to the pitch of the ball and Chris Dougherty completed an easy stumping.
Shannon however, gradually clawed Instonians right back into the match, coming down the pitch to hammer Trevor Britton for a majestic straight six, the first of three maximums from the Ireland international.
He added 38 for the fourth wicket with Stephen Bunting and when Shannon crashed Nigel Jones back over his head for six in the 35th over, Inst were 150 for three and it was probably an even game.
But from the next delivery Jones delivered his most significant contribution of the day as he got one to rise from back of a length and Shannon edged behind. He was gone after making 61.
Russell then returned to the fray after receiving seven stitches in a head wound and when he crashed a four and a six off the first two deliveries he faced, hopes of a remarkable turnaround started to grow. He even struck the first delivery he faced from Thompson back over the bowler’s head for six and as he raced to 49 in 31 balls, CI fans on the boundary were starting to look decidedly worried.
However, he attempted one big hit too many off Trevor Britton, and Jones caught him just feet from the boundary from the last ball of the 40th over.
Inst lost their last five wickets for 11 runs and they had lost in the final for the second time in three years.
Earlier van der Dussen batted beautifully 117 from 134 balls and Thompson 68 from 47 as CI went past 250. White was Inst’s outstanding bowler, conceding just 18 runs in 10 overs.