It was a sad end to a season that had promised so much but only delivered the Lagan Valley Steels T20 trophy in the cabinet.
Apparently invincible for the first part of the season, they suffered their first defeat of consequence in the semi-final of the Arthur J Gallagher Challenge cup at the beginning of July. The ship was quickly righted and they beat Instonians to reach their second successive Irish Senior Cup Final.
Since July 24 when Instonians recorded a narrow DLS win at The Lawn there has only been one league win in their lastsix games, plus last weekend’s loss to Merrion in the Irish Cup decider.
Certainly luck has not been on Nelson’s side with injuries to key players such as Adam Dennison and James McCollum coinciding with the sharp end of the season
Nelson said: “It has been a privilege and honour to lead this club but it is time for me to take a step back as I believe that my form has suffered, so I want to concentrate on my own batting and bowling,
“Skippering on the field is the easy part of the job, but there is so much else that you have to think about and I believe I am not contributing all I can as a player. I am still only 25 and three years is a long time to lead, I certainly hope to be back in the role some time again in the future.
For now, I want to get back to scoring big runs both for the club and at inter-provincial level.
“Without a doubt winning the Irish Senior Cup last year here at The Lawn in front of our own fans, family and friends was a high point.
“Not many will ever have the opportunity to repeat that, I cannot think of anything that could compare unless you were to go on and win a number of Irish caps.
“We reached the final this year and the fact that only one team have ever won back to back Irish Cups shows how difficult it is to do. For me the low was in my first year when we lost a T20 game and the league to Instonians at Shaw’s Bridge.”
Waringstown coach Simon Johnston paid tribute to Nelson.
“I think people tend to forget when you are captain of a club like Waringstown there are so many things you have to think about outside of the playing and Lee has been excellent. It could have been difficult for me as an outsider when I took over as coach, but he made it so easy for me to slot in; I for one will miss his contributions.”
p Muckamore all but confirmed their return to the Ulster Bank Premier League on Saturday after an eight wicket victory over Academy at Moylena.
In one of the few games completed at the weekend Academy posted a total of 103 -8 in their 36 overs; no-one getting more than 19 against tight Muckamore bowling. Skipper Neil Gill took 2-28 supported by Ryan Haire’s 2-21.
Gary Nicholl and professional Avadhoot Dandekar between them bowled 14 overs whilst conceding just 26 runs.
In reply Gill lead from the front hitting the winning boundary in his 25 not out, Paul Eastham made 30 (2x4’s, 1x6) and Haire’s 38 not out contained six boundaries and one maximum as the home side won at a canter inside 19 overs.
Yesterday at The Lawn, Waringstown once again slid to defeat.
Batting first they posted 136 from 20 overs with Davy Dawson making an entertaining 52 from 42 balls with 4x4s and 2x6’s, skipper Lee Nelson (who stood down after the game) made 27 from 23 balls with 1 boundary and 2 maximums.
With CSNI 6-2, a home win beckoned but a partnership of 103 between Shane Getkate 41 (47 balls, 3x4’s and a six) and Jason van der Merwe 65 (44 balls, 3x4’s and 4x6’s) put them in the driving seat.
A couple of late wickets from Jack Carson, gave the home side a scent of victory, but two huge sixes clubbed by Graeme McCarter off Phil Eaglestone ensured victory with nine balls to spare.
Carrickfergus pulled off an 11 run victory at Middle Road over CSNI on Saturday to ensure the club’s highest ever finish in the league. Ryan Eagleson hit a rapid 45 not out with 3 fours and 4 sixes in a reduced overs contest.
Instonians completed a five wicket win over relegate Derriaghy,
Instonians skipper Nikolai Smith topping a fine season making 44 and taking two wickets, Ben Rose also took 2-8.