|Sensational Cup Success!|
27th July 2012
There were 45 years between our first Senior Cup Final victory in 1964 and our second in 2009, but we have only had to wait three years for our third success. A masterful performance at the Green in Comber saw off the challenge of North Down as Instonians went to an eight wicket victory with 14 overs to spare.
Despite the margin of victory there were plenty of moments of anxiety as North Down fought manfully to secure the victory. North Down won the toss and elected to bat against the opening attack of Eugene Moleon and Sam Shannon. Eugene enticed Neil Russell into a drive which skied to deep mid-on where John Stevenson took the catch to give Instonians the early breakthrough. Sam Shannon followed this up by having the dangerous Ryan Haire caught behind, making the score 20-2wks in the tenth over. This forced North Down onto the back foot as they needed to rebuild. Just as they seemed to be doing this they lost their third wicket with the score on 42 in the seventeeth over, Andrew White bowling Eakin. Again they needed to rebuild and Sutherland and professional Wijekoon took the score to 117 by the 34th over. As Instonians started to show some concern they got both men in quick succession, Sutherland for 58 and Wijekoon for 27, both wickets captured by Zach Rushe in a steady spell. This forced North Down to try to rebuild once more as they were in danger of not lasting the 50 overs. Tight bowling never allowed North Down off the hook and the innings ended in th last over for a total of 182 which looked to be well under the usual scores at this ground. The wickets were shared around withe Moleon taking three, White, Rushe and James Shannon two, and Sam Shannon one.
Instonians began their innings steadily but North Down were never going to go down without a fight and by the ninth over had removed both John Stevenson and the prolific Rory McCann with only 23 on the board. There began a tense spell as Instonians needed their next pair of James Shannon and Andrew White to put together a substantial partnership if the victory target was to be reached. Gradually, with one or two alarms, they moved the score along to 91 after 25 overs. There was still much to be done. James Shannon went to a fine fifty in the grand manner, hitting a six over long-on. Andrew White completed a confident fifty off 74 balls. At this point Shannon cut loose with some classical drives, and then hit three sixes off consecutive balls to raise the possibility of scoring a century. A four took him to 95no with Instonians four short of victory. James launched the next ball high towards the boundary where it fell a few feet short of the rope to secure the win but to leave himself stranded on 99no, a truly magnicient knock which won him the Ulster Bank Man of the Match award.
All in all, a wonderful performance much appreciated by the Instonians faithful. It was fitting that a member of the 1964 cup-winning team, Tom McCormack, was present to witness this latest success.
For the record, the winning team was:
Eugene Moleon (capt) Rory McCann (vice-capt) John Stevenson James Shannon
Andrew White Zach Rushe Richard McCarthy Robbie Kirk Rory McCurry
Richard White Sam Shannon Aaron Kernohan (12th man)