Muckamore are in dreamland

Muckamore's Ifty Hussain made a crucial contribution against Waringstown at Moylena
Muckamore's Ifty Hussain made a crucial contribution against Waringstown at Moylena

Waringstown were sensationally eliminated from the Arthur J Gallagher Challenge Cup on Saturday.

After almost eight hours of pulsating watching at Moylena, it was three balls remaining three to win, one wicket to fall.

Muckamore's Sam Gordon  bats

Muckamore's Sam Gordon bats

All results were possible as Muckamore’s Sam Gordon steadied himself and arrowed a throw from just in front of the pavilion to affect the run out of Marcus McClean, Waringstown’s last man just failing to make his ground, one run the margin of defeat.

It sparked scenes reminiscent of that famous Wembley moment – “They think it’s all over, it is now!” as Muckamore Chairman, Freddie Ashton ignited a mini-pitch invasion, charging on arms aloft to embrace the players.

Waringstown’s innings in reply to the hosts 214, which looked about 20 under par, was bookended by run-outs, the first, brilliant by professional Kagiso “Jonty” Rapulana a direct hit with James McCollum not even in the frame.

How it got to this Waringstown will wonder; as others struggled to come to terms with the pitch.

Adam Dennison confidently made 51 out of the first 80, until he was pouched by Ifty Hussain off the bowling of Adey.

With drinks approaching the visitors were comfortably placed.

Skipper Greg Thompson and professional Shaheen Khan in the middle, when inexplicably Khan lofted Hussain to Craig Drummond in the deep.

Next ball Marcus Topping edged Hussain and Ryan Haire took the catch at slip, game changing moments, 109-4 becoming 109-6. Thompson and Kyle McCallan put on 61, leaving 45 off nine the equation.

Then Thompson, who was back to best with 66, tamely chipped Rapulana to Gary Nicholl.

Waringstown edged closer, but pressure eventually took its toll.

Earlier Hussain (38) top-scored for Muckamore; that, combined with two wickets plus two excellent slip catches won him the man of the match, though by the end he was off the field nursing a knee injury.

Apart from Haire, the Muckamore top seven chipped in without anyone playing the defining innings that could have made the victory simpler. Paul Eastham (26 off 17) provided late impetus and entertainment.

Waringstown bowled admirably; McCollum taking 3-29 and Lee Nelson 3-30.

Muckamore skipper Gill was delighted:

“We are on a roll right now; our only loss was the opener against Carrick and I felt we should have won that.

“We will enjoy tonight, this is the first time in my career I have beaten Waringstown. The lads played well and we got what we deserved from the game,”

Best game I’ve seen for a while, outstanding efforts from both sets of players.