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Weekend To Remember For Matchett And CIYMS

Jonny Morton  

LVS T20 Cup Winners 2022 - CIYMSCIYMS regained the Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 Cup for a third time in four seasons on Saturday after beating CSNI by 16 runs (DLS) in a rain-affected final at The Lawn.

Having defeated rivals Waringstown earlier in the day in their semi-final encounter, CI progressed to yet another cup final where they met neighbours CSNI, who beat defending champions Carrickfergus in a repeat of last year's final by six wickets.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, CIYMS got off to a flying start through Ross Adair (31) and Chris Dougherty (40) with the pair putting on a stand of 74 inside seven overs to lay a superb platform for their side to attack. Despite both being dismissed within six balls of each other by the spin of Troy Johnson (1-27) and Ben Adair (1-18) respectively, it didn't do much to slow down CI's momentum as John Matchett (39) was joined in the middle by Jason van der Merwe (38).

Matchett – who had picked up figures of 5-27 in the semi-final – was dealing in sixes, striking four during his 25-ball stay at the crease while not to be left out, van der Merwe crashed two of his own in a third-wicket partnership worth 80. CSNI did admirable work in the closing stages of the innings, which had been reduced to 17 overs due to inclement weather, reducing their opponents from 158-2 to 175-7 to limit the damage.

After yet more rain, the equation for the Stormont side had changed to 100 required in only eight overs and although knowing it was going to be an uphill task, they came out swinging. Luke Georgeson (27 off 13) blasted three sixes before Marc Ellison (24 from 15) contributed another two maximums as they took it to the CIYMS bowling attack, but the total proved too much in the end as they fell short by 16 runs.

It was a batter's day with only three of the 10 bowlers across both sides producing an economy rate of seven or under in a hard-hitting clash that deserved a full showing.

They will face off once again in less than three weeks in another final – this time in the prestigious Gallagher Challenge Cup decider in Comber – where there could be even more fireworks.

LVS T20 Cup Man of the Match winner John Matchett (CIYMS)The only trophy that has eluded CIYMS during their dominant run in cup competitions over recent years has been the Clear Currency Irish Senior Cup, but they took a step closer to putting that right on Sunday as a glorious century from Matchett helped them to a five-wicket win over reigning champions Pembroke. In a game where both sides were missing key players due to involvement with Ireland ahead of a Twenty20 series against New Zealand which starts today, the Leinster outfit posted a respectable total of 252-6 but CIYMS always looked in full control during their chase.

Adair (47) was once again at his destructive best early on and hit eight boundaries in 18 balls before he was well caught trying to reach what would have been a deserved half-century in style. Graham Kennedy (22) also arrived at the crease with intent, but it was then handed over to the same pair that were responsible for the Twenty20 Cup success the previous day – Matchett (102) and van der Merwe (47*) – who shouldered the responsibility to get their side over the line without further drama. It capped off a weekend to remember for Matchett and is a significant moment for CIYMS, now into their second consecutive Irish Senior Cup semi-final, and they'll be joined in the last four by Lisburn who also won on the road at The Hills by 33 runs.

As has been the story of their magnificent season to date, multiple players stepped up on the big occasion as Faiz Fazal (39) and Jonny Waite (45) put on 80 for the first wicket to get their side off to a flying start. A cluster of wickets which reduced them from 80-0 to 103-4 didn't put the visitors off as David Miller (77) counter-attacked superbly, striking nine fours and four sixes from 51 balls while Mark Berry (25*) smashed three late maximums before Lisburn were bowled out for 248 with nine overs to spare – which perhaps gives you an insight into their attacking gameplan!

They weren't left to rue not batting their overs as David Simpson (1-29) and Josh Manley (2-15) picked up wickets in consecutive overs to leave their opponents on 24-2 and when former Instonians batsman Murray Commins (56) was caught off the bowling of Matthew Humphreys (2-51), Lisburn were in the ascendancy. Manley returned to finish off the job and this squad will have their eye on creating a piece of history by becoming the first Lisburn team to reach an Irish Senior Cup final when the semis are played on July 31.

Elsewhere, CSNI Women made it a Gallagher Challenge Cup final double for the club by reaching a fifth consecutive decider after Abi Leckey (4-11) inspired them to a six-wicket triumph versus Muckamore. The defending champions bowled their opponents out for 42 with Leckey and Jess Mayes (2-5) causing most of the damage before Alison Cowan (16) was the steady presence they needed with the bat after losing two early wickets.

It has been a remarkable run of consistency from CSNI Women, who will meet Waringstown in a repeat of the 2020 final after they recorded an eight-wicket victory over North Down. Abbi Harrison (3-12) helped restrict North Down to 72 and it proved to be a comfortable chase as Rachael Harrison (22*) ensured serene progress to next Sunday's final.

Lagan Valley Steels T20 Cup

Clear Currency Irish Senior Cup

Clear Currency Irish National Cup