|Instonians secure Under-13 league title!|
Instonians Under-13s beat Carrickfergus by seven wickets in the NCU Under-13 league final at Shaw’s Bridge on Thursday 30 August to secure the Tom Greenwood Memorial Trophy and the NCU Under-13 league title for 2012.
Before the match began, Instonians suffered a blow when captain and leading run scorer Andrew Knape was ruled unfit to play due to a knee injury. Rhys O’Donnell stepped in to lead the team on the field.
Carrickfergus won the toss and elected to bat on a rare fine and sunny evening. Excellent opening spells from David Mitchell (1-8) and Paul Kerr (1-5) immediately put Carrickfergus under pressure and restricted the scoring rate to just over two per over after nine overs. Off-spinner Rhys O’Donnell (1-13) then delivered a brilliant spell in the middle overs to maintain the pressure.
However, towards the end of the Carrickfergus innings, its momentum began to increase, due largely to a skilful and well-judged innings of 52 not out from opener Jack Burton, supported by Osborne (21). The Carrickfergus innings closed on 89, a total that appeared competitive but well within range of a powerful Instonians batting line-up.
This view appeared to be justified by a superb opening partnership between Rhys O’Donnell (10) and Paul Kerr (29) that took Instonians to 34 off just six overs. Paul Kerr impressed with some powerful hitting, including one breathtaking straight six at the river end. However, a disciplined bowling and fielding display from Carrickfergus saw them edge their way back into the game as Instonians started to fall below the required run rate. At 47-3 from 13 overs, things were starting to look bleak for Instonians.
The game was turned on its head by a brilliant fourth wicket partnership of 46 from just five overs between Neil Saulters (25 not out) and James Metcalfe (20 not out). A combination of excellent running, good shot selection and a positive approach to the task in hand took Instonians home by seven wickets with almost two overs to spare, sealing an impressive victory in what had been an enthralling match and a great advertisement for youth cricket in Northern Ireland.
As Andrew Knape and Rhys O’Donnell jointly lifted the Tom Greenwood Memorial Trophy, Instonians could reflect on a vintage league season in which all nine matches played had been won, mostly by huge margins, scoring almost 1000 runs in the process. This is an immensely talented team which, individually and collectively, is a credit to Instonians CC and augurs well for the future.