Who knows quite how Rassie van der Dussen would have been feeling at Comber on Friday night as play was finally abandoned in the NCU Challenge Cup final.
CIYMS’ South African professional played one of the great cup final innings but while his wonderful 134 from just 126 balls will linger long in the memory, it will never take its rightful place in the record books thanks to Ulster’s miserable weather.
The umpires Mark Hawthorne and Phil Thompson finally abandoned play at 6.10pm on Friday night, and with the NCU having ruled earlier in the week that there would be no continuation of play into the reserve day on Saturday, a totally new match will start on Saturday morning.
There can be little doubting who was the happier captain. While Chris Dougherty briefly remonstrated with the umpires - after all it was virtually dry when they announced their decision - Neil Russell, his Insonians counterpart, could afford himself a relieved grin.
Inst, despite bowling and fielding well for much of the first 30 overs, had been on the wrong end of a battering as van der Dussen unleashed his full repertoire of strokes in a stunning and brutal assault.
At one stage van der Dussen was just 18 off 54 balls and Dougherty, with a superb 58 from 68 balls, largely dominated their 93-run opening stand. Dougherty played a string of sublime strokes after being reprieved by Andrew White at slip when he was 18.
Soon Dougherty was making Inst pay, hitting White straight back over his head for six and then going to 50 with a perfectly executed slog sweep for another maximum off Zach Rushe.
His dismissal in the 21st over, caught behind after Eugene Moleon (2-61) got one to bounce unexpectedly, for 58 from 68 balls, including four fours and three sixes, came right out of the blue.
John Matchett was Moleon’s second victim, but that was merely the signal for van der Dussen to go from first gear into fifth in seemingly effortless fashion. His hitting just before the first major rain break was significant enough to take CI to 180 for two after 37 overs, but in the four overs until the innings closed, he was almost hitting a boundary at will.
A total of 57 came in those four overs, including 24 in five balls in the final ball bowled by Moleon. Van der Dussen’s second 50 took just 28 balls and he went from 50 to 134 in just 39. In all he struck 13 four and six sixes, at least two of which threatened the safety of nearby residents.
CI’s total of 237 for three became a target of 270 for Instonians under Duckworth-Lewis but further rain eventually left the equation at 167 off 21.
Just eight balls were possible though and the teams will start on an even footing tomorrow.
In the North West Senior Cup final he rain held back a thrilling start to the final. Stuart Thompson, the Ireland all-rounder, ripped into the Donemana top order after Eglinton had won the toss and bowled first on their home ground.
Thompson first removed William McClintock for just two from 23 balls and then an in-swinger trapped Andy McBrine lbw. Thompson removed Gary McClintock thanks to a stunning catch behind from Simon Olphert and when Thomas Riddles fell to Johnny Gardiner Donemana were reeling on 43 for four.
But Donemana fought back, captain Richard Kee (28 no) and Kyle Dougherty (15 no) adding 38 runs to take them to 81 for four after 27 overs when heavy rain arrived.