For cricket lovers there’s really only one place to be on Saturday – The Lawn.
Waringstown – current holders of the Irish Senior Cup – host Instonians, their main rivals in the NCU.
At stake is a decider against either Merrion or YMCA.
In the run up to the game one player has completely stolen the headlines – Waringstown’s Adam Dennison.
On Monday the teenager came of age with a truly remarkable double hundred playing for Northern Knights against North West Warriors.
To be honest it was not something I really saw coming, but Dennison gave warning that he was in form, top-scoring in the 50 over clash between the pair which the Knights won on his home turf on Sunday.
Prior to Monday Dennison did not even have a senior hundred to his name, but he remedied that and in what style. If the first 100 was workmanlike off 171 balls the second can only be described as an outpouring of joy.
70 balls, 41 scoring shots, 74 runs in boundaries, 14x4’s, 3x6’s, including that extraordinary ramp shot off Craig Young, I asked his club captain Lee Nelson what it is was like looking on?
“Surreal, he is only 18 and to score 200 in an inter-pro, literally we ran out of words!”
I asked Lee where it rated in terms of innings he had watched.
“I’ve seen Obus Pienaar make a double and also James Hall but this has to be the best, with all due respect they were not made against this class of bowling. The Warriors professional is a test cricketer and then you had Craig Young, Stuart Thompson and Andy McBrine, all Irish internationals.”
Adam’s innings has now brought added expectation for him, he is a level headed guy and it won’t bother him, it’s up to him to kick on; Saturday would be a good place to start. In my opinion it’s the two best teams in the NCU going head to head.
No doubt Inst have the bit between their teeth after the win last week at The Lawn, it is the same wicket as the inter pro was played on so there should be plenty of runs. I still view it very much if we can get rid of James Shannon and Andrew White early we put ourselves in the driving seat regardless.
If James McCollum fails a fitness test Morgan Topping comes in and with Davy Dawson unavailable James Mitchell takes his place.”
Opposite number Nikolai Smith was equally full of praise for Dennison.
“It was a brilliant century and the for the second ton he just went out and expressed himself. In some ways it changes our thinking about the Irish Cup game but it does not change how we will plan for it. Previously we would not have viewed Adam as a player that could completely take the game away from you, but that’s different now.
“Look we know it’s our seamers against their spinners and we will not be expecting a seamer’s wicket tomorrow, but we have the variety if it swings early on we can exploit that but Nathan Smith, Stephen Bunting, Robert McKinley and Rusty Theron are all capable of mixing it up and providing variation.
“Equally we have Andrew White and Lewis McNamara as our spinners. Everyone talks about the batting depending on myself James Shannon and Whitey but again that is unfair, McKinley, Bunting, Theron, Smith are all capable of big innings, we have Jordan McClurkin and Neil Russell back in the side, although James Metcalfe, continues to keep. I think we have our bases covered.”
For me it is a game of fine margins, Waringstown have the experience of winning last year but if Instonians turn up with their A game we are in for a classic.