4th XI lose out in Cup Final
The Fourth XI went into the Minor Qualifying Cup Final deservedly confident, off the back of a strong 8 wicket victory at Downpatrick the weekend previous. Despite this, there was an understandably nervous atmosphere on the bus on the way to Saintfield. They were greeted by wonderful conditions and a superb pitch at the Down club. Having lost the toss, Carrickfergus were unsurprised to be invited to bowl on a wicket that looked like a decidedly good batting track. The lads started off well and despite scoring steadily Cooke Collegians were not running away with the game for the first half. Cooke Collegian’s David Rice, however, remained ominously resolute and in the third quarter of the game, the match got away from Carrick a little and Cooke Collegians looked to be headed for a useful 200+ total. Carrick's bowlers managed to stem the flow of runs in the final quarter of the game and did well to limit their final total to a 'get-able' 188. Rice ended with a well-deserved undefeated 62, ably supported for a large part of the innings by Grimason (39). Skipper Davy Wight and Philip McKnight were the pick of Carrick's bowlers with 3 for 36 and 3 for 18 respectively. Veteran medium-pacer Matt Anthony delighted the fans on 'Matt's Mount' with a few swinging balls, ending with figures of 2 for 27. The Carrickfergus innings in comparison got off to a relatively poor start with none of the top three making much of a start. The Cooke Collegians opening attack was largely accurate and kept the Carrickfergus batsmen pretty well tied down. The scoreboard was ticking over reasonably but the steady fall of wickets led to a failure to build meaningful partnerships. When eventual top-scorers Stephen Luney (39) and Greg Weir (33) came together, it looked very much like an uphill task for the Carrickfergus men. A few glimpses of the 'Stumpy' of old, however, soon gave hope to the Carrickfergus team as he began to lash out with some memorable shots. The good fortune of a missed chance for caught and bowled might have proved to be the launching pad for a big innings from the big man. Instead, however, this seemed to unsettle him a little and within a few balls, he had holed out to slip. Greg, who had supported Luney ably throughout his knock was batting well and needed support from his middle order. A few made contributions but failed to go on and hopes soon began to fade for the Carrick men. The loss of Weir sounded the death knell of the innings and the tail was soon tidied up by the tidy Cooke Collegians attack. Richer and Benson both ended up with deserved three wicket hauls, (3 for 17 and 3 for 31 respectively). All in all, a valiant effort from the Carrick boys who should be proud of the character they showed in the field but the difference between the two teams lay in the the steadiness of their respective batting, with David Rice deservedly being rewarded with Man-of-the-Match award fro his knock of 62 not out.