CRICKET: Lisburn see off Cliftonville to lift Junior Cup

Lisburn celebrate after winning the Junior Cup
Lisburn celebrate after winning the Junior Cup

After 24 years of waiting the Junior Cup returned to Wallace Park on Saturday afternoon.

Tony Nicholl for the sponsors GMcG presented the trophy to captain Ricky Finlay, who himself had been man of the match 20 years previously when representing North of Ireland.

As a final it was not much of a spectacle, Lisburn won the toss and it was no surprise Finlay elected to field, once again backing his batsmen to chase down whatever total Cliftonville posted.

On the big occasion you look to the big names to perform, for Cliftonville the pre-match favourites this was a day when in reality they did not turn up, or come close to doing themselves justice. Lisburn completely outplayed them in each of the three disciplines and were well deserved winners.

Amongst all the experienced players, it was perhaps one of the lesser lights who stole the show, man of the match Graeme Browne.

Browne opened the bowling, pitched it up, keeping it straight and continually asking questions of the batsmen. Ross McKnight survived a massive appeal for caught behind, but Browne didn’t need any assistance next ball.

Michael Turkington then took a catch off Browne to remove Neil Cahill and when two balls later Jonny Terrett missed a full delivery he barely lifted his head to look at the umpire and Cliftonville were 14-3.

Adam Kelso and David Munn dug in until Callum Irvine found Kelso’s edge and Finlay took the chance at second slip. As Adam departed his father Brian passed him on the way to the middle, but with only 30 runs on the board and 19 overs gone Lisburn were totally in control.

Kelso and Munn added 54 until the former took on Turkington’s arm and was left sprawling; run out for 20. Again Cliftonville did not help themselves as this was the first of three run outs.

Time for Neil Doak to make his mark, Michael McCord picking out Callum Irvine, then running out Aiden Howe and finally getting an lbw to remove Peter Black. David Munn was left stranded on 53 not out with 6x4s and 120 never realistically looked like a winning score.

McCord had Finlay caught at point by McKnight in the third over but the big difference was Lisburn already had 18 on the board. Glenn Halliday came in and batted positively with 3x4s and a six until caught behind off James McNeilly.

Browne fell in a similar fashion off Brian Anderson and Neil Doak joined Turkington, leg glancing his first ball for four. The pair remained untroubled with Doak rolling back the years with a couple of vintage cover drives, including the one through cover point off McCord to win the game.

Turkington remained unbeaten on 40 with 4x4’s and a six. Afterwards Ricky Finlay paid tribute to his team: “Absolutely over the moon, great to see Turk and Doaky bring us home.”

“We bowled and fielded superbly, I don’t think we missed anything all day. We are an experienced side and we used all that today, delighted to lead these boys and fantastic day for me personally for the club.”