North West teams stun Irish Cup opposition

Instonians' Neil Russell bats against Railway Union
Instonians' Neil Russell bats against Railway Union

Stunning wins for Ardmore, Fox Lodge and St Johnstone completed a remarkable day for the North West in the RSA Irish Cup yesterday.

Ardmore pulled off one of the most significant wins in their history by beating North County, who included Ireland all-rounder John Mooney, at The Bleachgreen.

St Johnston, the Championship side, completed a feat every bit as significant as they defeated the NCU’s Civil Service North in Co Donegal.

Fox Lodge produced a superb bowling performance in Dublin as they thrashed Leinster by 10 wickets at Rathmines to book their place in the last 16.

The home side were dismissed for just 85 in 20 overs and the Ballymagorry outfit reached their target with the minimum of fuss.

With Strabane cruising to a rain-affected home victory over NCU Section One club Lurgan, the only disappointment for the North West was Brigade’s Duckworth-Lewis defeat to Phoenix in Dublin.

St Johnston’s win over was probably the most unexpected result of the day. The visitors were without captain and talisman Nigel Jones and his absence left a gaping hole that contributed to a dismal batting collapse.

Chasing a target of 214 at The Boathole, CSNI lost their first five wickets for just six runs. David Lapsley struck immediately to remove openers Jason van der Merwe and Andrew Cowden with Nathan Cole removing Andrew McCulla before claiming the prize scalps of Shane Getkate and South African professional Griffin Nieuwoudt.

Charlie Beverland was the lone barrier between CSNI and complete humiliation as he struck a defiant 52 which perhaps only underlined how bad his team-mates had been. No other CSNI player reached double figures. Lapsley finished with five for 21 and Cole three for 16 as the visitors were dismissed for 83.

Earlier Jasia Wallia top scored with 60 as St Johnston posted 213. Cowden took four for 37 but it was scant consolation for the Stormont men.

Ardmore’s hopes of an upset looked remote after they could only manage 143 all out batting first against North County, who once dominated this competition at their pomp.

Just one Ardmore batsman, Paul McDowell, passed 20 with a succession of players getting starts before failing to go on.

However, it wasn’t long before Ardmore were ripping through North County’s much-vaunted top order. Gary Neely, the veteran former Ireland bowler, trapped Conor Armstrong for a duck and after Adam Coughlan was run out for five, Neely (3-16) claimed the decisive wicket by bowling Mooney for nine.

Eddie Richardson, another Ireland international, could only manage six before he became another Neely victim while Terry Richardson’s 34 was ended by Lee Brolly.

At 84 for seven North County were in desperate trouble but a 24-run stand for the eighth wicket brought them to within 22 runs of a target adjusted to 140.

However, Andrew Riddles struck twice and Conor Brolly took the last wicket as North County were dismissed for 128.

It was much more comfortable for Strabane with Mark Snodgrass taking three for 23 and Matthew Bentley three for six as Lurgan were skittled for 87. Stephen Chambers top scored for the visitors with 32.

Strabane lost four wickets securing their passage.