independent

Thursday 23 October 2014

The Hills are back on top!

MARCUS CAVAROLI

Published 04/09/2012 | 18:16

Credit: Pictures:JoeCurtis

THE HILLS Cricket Club are perhaps finally coming back down to earth today after capturing the Holy Grail in the shape of their first ever Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup triumph last Saturday.

Ending a 30-year wait for the trophy, having watched great rivals North County lift it on a number of occasions, the Skerries men were comprehensive eight-wicket winners over Merrion at Castle Avenue and the celebrations continued long into the night at their clubhouse - even though they had a league match to fulfil on Sunday afternoon! Some very tidy bowling by Max Sorensen, Nazeer Shoukat, Tomas Murphy, Luke Clinton and Mark Dwyer - all of whom picked up at least one wicket each - ensured that a tight rein was kept on the Merrion batsmen and the opposition struggled throughout to put runs on the board before being dismissed for just 153. The Hills, wary of throwing a winning position away, batted cautiously but took advantage of the bad balls and that approach carried them to a handsome victory with more than 10 overs to spare. Heaping praise on the team, The Hills president Jim Bennett enthused: 'It was a fantastic performance by our lads and their success is very, very well deserved. 'We lost the toss but had decided we would field and that's what happened. We're a very good bowling side and Merrion only had 12 on the board after 12 overs. We bowled brilliantly, fielded brilliantly and batted sensibly. When you have a small score to chase there is a tendency to try to get it in a hurry, but the batsmen were very measured and put the bad balls away. 'All the lads came up to the plate and the wicketkeeper Nicolaas Pretorius was magnificent.' Reflecting on the significance of the victory, Mr Bennett added: 'We got to the final in 2007, didn't turn up and got an awful hammering from North County, and two years ago we thought we had a great chance when we played Waringstown at home in the semis, but we lost that as well. 'From playing in the Senior Cup since 1982 it's a serious monkey to get off our backs and quite emotional for the people that were there, some of them thinking of those who weren't there to see it. One man said to me 'I can die happy' and that's what it means to me.' Also toasting The Hills' victory was their captain Nazeer Shoukat who returned the best bowling figures of 3-16, with four of his overs being maidens, and he couldn't hide his delight. 'We're over the moon to win this competition and I'm so happy for the lovely, lovely supporters,' he said. 'Our plan was to hold them tight and we said it didn't matter if we didn't get any wickets, and in the first 25 overs we kept them to less than 100. They were under pressure because the scoreboard was going nowhere and everyone bowled very well. 'I want to thank our great coach John Wills and Mike Baumgart and Luke Clinton who have been a great help since I came to The Hills.' Saturday's victory was a case of third time lucky for Nazeer as he had appeared in two previous finals for fellow Fingal side Rush and lost on both occasions. Sadly, there was to be no Fingal cup double at the weekend as Balbriggan lost their RSA National Cup Final to Muckamore by three wickets at The Hills' grounds at Milverton.

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