Shannon - It was team effort that got us through

Mandatory Credit: Rowland White/Presseye'Cricket: NCU Ulster Bank Challenge Cup Final'Team: Instonians (blue/yellow) v North Down (green)'Venue: The Green, Comber'Date: 27th July 2012'Caption: Instonians Captain Eugene Moleon with the Challenge Cup
Mandatory Credit: Rowland White/Presseye'Cricket: NCU Ulster Bank Challenge Cup Final'Team: Instonians (blue/yellow) v North Down (green)'Venue: The Green, Comber'Date: 27th July 2012'Caption: Instonians Captain Eugene Moleon with the Challenge Cup

NCU Challenge Cup final man-of-the-match James Shannon insisted a team effort was behind Instonians’ eight-wicket victory over North Down.

Shannon seized the limelight with an unbeaten 99 and two wickets, and with his younger brother Sam taking the prize wicket of Ryan Haire, it was very much a family affair.

But James, who is pushing for a place in the full Ireland side, saluted all his team-mates after a superb all-round display.

“To be honest I wouldn’t have thought this at the start of the day.

“We turned up and from the start we bowled so well,” he said.

“I think at the start of the day if we had been given anything under 200 we would have snapped your hand off. Getting Ryan Haire was a massive wicket early on.

“It was good for my wee brother to get Ryan, he bowled well, he has been short of confidence of late and it’s nice personal moment for him to get such a good player out.

“Our spinners also bowled well, Zach Rushe did well and Whitey (Andrew White) bowled well and we just choked them in the middle. To restrict them to 180 was a fantastic effort on this ground.”

The wicket of Gayan Wijekoon, the North Down professional, superbly caught by Rory McCurry off Zach Rushe, just as the host club were rebuilding their innings, was crucial Shannon admitted.

“We know he (Wijekoon) is a good player, but I don’t think he is the kind of player who can take the game away from you at any time.

“It was still a really important wicket.

“Rory McCurry has shown he is a fantastic fielder and as soon as it went up I had every confidence in him to take the catch.”

As soon as Inst dismissed North Down for just 182, Shannon was confident they would chase down the target.

He said: “I started well and I felt I was positive from the word go.

“To be fair they did bowl well, but it’s always a good pitch at North Down and I backed myself my ability to get runs here.”

He added: “It was a dream, it couldn’t have gone any better.

“To play a major part is special for the club.

“Everyone does so much work and to give something back is brilliant.

“It was just my day but it could have been anyone’s.”

As for that winning boundary, Shannon admits he was willing it over the line for the six that would have given him a century.

He added: “I was jumping whenever I hit it, trying to get it over, but I think it was just in front of the line.

“It would have been nice to get a hundred but winning the cup is more important than that. I will take 99.

“We want to win the league but we will just take every game as it comes.

“We have North Down again on Sunday and there’s a lot of good teams in the league so there’s a long way to go yet.”