Ross Adair inspires CIYMS to victory

A century from Ross Adair inspired CIYMS to a third consecutive Gallagher Challenge Cup crown yesterday as they produced a clinical performance to beat CSNI by 10 wickets at The Green.

By Johnny Morton
Saturday, 6th August 2022, 8:00 am

In what is his second hundred of another Challenge Cup-winning campaign for the Belmont outfit, Adair smashed 103* from 78 balls (11 fours, six sixes) to help his current club defeat his previous one with 24 overs to spare.

It continues a remarkable run of domination in local cup competitions for CIYMS who collected a fifth title in this competition in seven seasons and is their second triumph of 2022, following LVS Twenty20 Cup success last month and an Irish Senior Cup final against Lisburn still to come on August 27.

CI were in complete control for virtually the duration of the game, which had been reduced to 48 overs per side after captain Nigel Jones won the toss and elected to bowl first.

CIYMS players celebrate with the Gallagher Trophy after today's Gallagher Challenge Cup final at The Green, Comber. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

CSNI made a solid start through Luke Georgeson (20) and Ryan Hunter (12) as the opening pair safely navigated the first 10 overs but not long after the match was turned on its head.

The introduction of Graeme Kennedy (3-29) caused chaos in the opposition batting line-up as the spinner picked up both of the aforementioned duo and overseas professional Troy Johnson (1) within two overs to reduce CSNI from 36-0 to 40-3.

Marc Ellison (30) and captain Stuart Thompson (32) still played with positive intent despite the cluster of wickets and their partnership had rapidly reached 60 before the former was caught off the bowling of Keith Dudgeon (3-33).

Again, CSNI lost wickets in spurts as Thompson fell shortly after – also to Dudgeon – and unlike before, they were never able to recover as Jacob Mulder (4-15) ensured the opposition couldn’t muster more than 161 all out.

That total was never likely going to be anywhere near enough and so it proved as Adair made his intentions clear by hitting the very first ball of the chase for four and the boundaries continued to flow throughout.

Adair will rightly steal the headlines for his incredible exploits but Chris Dougherty (51*) also played a crucial hand, who was at his consistent best which allowed his hard-hitting partner at the other end to play with ultimate freedom.

Their partnership reached 100 within 16.4 overs and if anything, they sped up with the finishing line in sight to mark another special day for the CIYMS faithful.

Ross joins younger brother Mark in being named Man of the Match in a Challenge Cup final after he played a starring role in the 2019 success against Instonians.

Adair is having the season of his career so far with these runs bringing his tally to over 750 across the Challenge Cup – where he finishes with an average of 117 in 2022! – and Robinson Services Premier League.

He has also performed at Inter-Provincial level with the Northern Knights and the clamour for him to be handed his first full international cap will only intensify with performances like those that he’s producing on a remarkably consistent basis.

It also marks a seventh triumph in this competition for captain Jones, whose squad will have been able to enjoy their evening celebrations with a well-deserved weekend off due to a reduced league schedule today.

Only the bottom four sides are in action with Cregagh – who are looking for their first league win of the season - hosting Woodvale while Cliftonville Academy travel to Instonians (both 11am starts).

It’s an important weekend in Section One for Derriaghy as they take on Lurgan (today) and Armagh (tomorrow) with the aim of leapfrogging league leaders Templepatrick to put themselves in pole position for Premier League promotion.