The NCU has two clubs in the last four of the Irish Cup after Civil Service North and Waringstown recorded stunning victories in Dublin on Sunday night.
CSNI eased to a four-wicket win over Leinster at Rathmines to book their second semi-final in the last three years.
But there was real drama at Castle Avenue where Waringstown, led by professional Ruhan Pretorius who hit six sixes in a single over, beat Clontarf by six runs in an enthralling match.
The villagers had piled up a massive 316 for five batting first, but only after a ferocious late assault by Pretorius and Greg Thompson.
On a cracking pitch, the villagers’ innings appeared to be going nowhere fast when the sixth-wicket pair came together.
Despite a second half-century in two days from the excellent opener, Adam Dennison Waringstown were 152 for five in the 36th over on a cracking batting pitch.
A day after they amassed 266 against CIYMS and still lost, Waringstown knew something around 250 was never likely to be enough against a powerful Clontarf batting line-up.
But even the most optimistic Waringstown supporter couldn’t have foreseen what happened next as Pretorius and Thompson slammed 93 from the last four overs. The 47th over was the key as incredibly Pretorius slammed slow bowler Conor D’Arcy for six consecutive sixes.
The South African reached his century off the final ball of the innings to finish with an unbeaten 101 from just 49 balls. He struck eight fours and seven sixes.
Thompson was almost as important at the other end, his unbeaten 66 taking 49 balls and including 10 fours and a six. In total their partnership was 164 in just 84 balls.
Clontarf then launched a blistering assault of their own as Bill Coghlan, the Leinster Lightning batsman, slammed 94 from just 99 balls, including 14 fours and a six. Crucially though Waringstown were making inroads at the other end, Kyle McCallan removing Alex Cusack with his first ball and then Thompson claimed the prize scalp of Andrew Poynter.
Coghlan’s demise owed everything to a remarkable running catch from Kidd off Thompson and when Clontarf slumped to 146 for five the game seemed up.
But with McCallan bowled out after taking two for 39 Eoghan Delany, the captain, and Robert Forrest brought Clontarf back to life. The sixth-wicket stand was 101 in less than 13 overs and the equation had become a very gettable 75 from nine overs before Forrest (60 from 37) was trapped lbw by Kidd (3-59).
His departure allowed Waringstown to apply pressure at the other end and the task became an unlikely 25 from the final over even though Delany remained unbeaten on 85 from just 74 balls.
In contrast Civil Service North virtually had a stranglehold on their tie against Leinster from the start. Leinster had only lost three wickets by the 43rd over but their run rate was well below what was expected against some tight CSNI bowling.
Joe Carroll hit 48 from 52 balls but four for 31 from the unheralded spin of Jason van der Merwe helped limit Leinster to just 228 for nine.
CSNI’s reply started disastrously. Wayne Horwood and Regan West were gone inside the first four overs, but captain Andrew Cowden and Mansoor Amjad eased their nerves with an 88-run stand for the third wicket.
Cowden eventually fell for 33 but Amjad and Shane Getkate’s 89-run partnership took the Stormont side to the very brink of victory. Getkate made 41 from 52 and Mansoor 84 from 91, including 10 fours and a six. There was a late wobble as both departed but van der Merwe struck a quickfire 25 as CSNI got home with more than seven overs to spare.
In the NCU Premier League Instonians maintained their unbeaten recorded with an four-wicket win over Carrickfergus at Shaw’s Bridge. Jamie Holmes struck 62, including seven fours and a six, as Carrick were all out for 188. Stephen Bunting claimed three for 26.
Inst were nought for two in reply as Neil Russell and Jordan McClurkin fell to Anthony Martin for ducks but an unbeaten 67 from 71 balls from Andrew White saw them home.