U11s Crowned All Ireland Champions

On Sunday 26th August, the Under 11s played host to North West champions St Johnston in the All Ireland final at a gloomy Shaw’s Bridge. Due to a fantastic effort from members, coaches and parents, the match was played with Instonians emerging worthy winners by 108 runs.

Coaches had watched forecasts with anticipation in the days leading up to the game and with impending downpours the decision was taken on Saturday afternoon to push the start time back to 3.30. With the entire square covered, great efforts from Andrew Rose, Owen Lambert and the parents meant that the match went ahead with a slightly delayed start. Thanks have to be conveyed to St Johnston’s David Macbeth for his willingness to ensure a match was completed on the day.

With St Johnston calling tails, Instonians were invited to bat. Initially that proved to be a good decision after the loss of Michael Hollway and Will Park with only 13 on the board. However Ben McCausland and Amy Hunter set about repairing the damage. The St Johnston change bowlers struggled for consistency, allowing Amy to showcase her talent with some huge hitting. Ben McCausland was content to leave the aerial assault to Amy while he stroked the ball to all parts. With 10 overs gone and the score on 103, a big total looked likely. Amy continued to find the boundary at will and brought up her 50 from only 24 balls!

Not to be outdone, Ben registered his own 50 from 36 balls. With a century for either or both appearing possible, Amy was adjudged LBW for a fantastic 67 (35 balls). An astonishing match-defining partnership of 129 came in under 11 overs. Darcy Donnelly rotated the strike well and despite a late assault, Ben finished on 92 not out (69 balls). Most pleasing was Ben’s ability to keep the ball on the ground and hit the gaps. (11 x 4’s) Amy’s knock contained 4 x (huge) 6’s and 7 x 4’s. Without doubt the best partnership I have witnessed at this level.

Even more pleasing was the fact that half of the Irish team was there to see it, including James Shannon, Gary Wilson and Paul Stirling.

With an uphill task for the visitors, Max Willmott clean bowled opener Goud to claim an early breakthrough. His opening partner Harry Pearson still reckoned it was “game on” as he attacked the bowling, racing to 20 from 10 balls. Max continued to bowl well without further success. The Ben/Amy partnership continued, this time with the ball. They bowled with pace and accuracy at an important stage with Ben claiming the 2nd wicket with the score on 52 to end a good partnership. With Harry Pearson still at the wicket, the threat remained although the required run rate was increasing. A good tactical change by Ben brought Michael Hollway back into the attack to capture the danger-man courtesy of a good catch at Mid-on by Max. With Amy taking a simple return catch, the top 4 were accounted for. Michael continued to probe the off stump, claiming another two wickets with his beautifully flighted offies. Ben decided to introduce Ben Walsh and Luke Crothers. Both bowled beautifully and were unlucky only to take one wicket each. Will Park and Frank Hollway also looked good and restricted scoring opportunities. James Nelson’s leg-spin continues to show promise and Evan Hogg came on to finish proceedings. 8 of the 10 wickets to fall were clean-bowled

Credit must go to the St Johnston side who battled hard and gave 100% all day.

Thanks to St Johnston for travelling with great support and to the umpires for facilitating seamlessly.

Ben McCausland received the Alex Dunlop Memorial Cup from Paul Stirling, much to the delight of teammates and supporters.

Instonians U11 196-3 B McCausland 92n.o, A Hunter 67

St Johnston 88 all out H Pearson 39, E Macbeth 20, M Hollway 3-13, E Hogg 2-0