Cricket: Clarence breaks Merrion duck
MERRION captain John Anderson praised his South African club professional, Greg Clarence, after his man-of-the-match performance in their Bob Kerr Irish Cup Senior Cup final victory over Railway Union on Saturday.
Clarence hit 80 not out and former Ireland international Dom Joyce matched him boundary for boundary as Merrion stunned the favourites with an unbeaten second-wicket stand of 163 off just 149 balls to win their first Irish cup final in superb style.
"Greg has been exceptional this year and his attitude has passed on to the rest of us and while Dom hasn't had the best of years, he was due today," said Anderson.
The winning skipper admitted it helped his side that they knew they would not have to match Railway's imposing total of 317-3 to win the cup.
With the game at Balrothery delayed by 90 minutes at the start and another hold-up, because of rain, between innings, Anderson knew Merrion wouldn't have to bat the 50 overs as there was a cut-off time for the day's play of 6.40.
The rules for the final stated that if 20 overs of the side batting second were not completed, the game would continue on Sunday, but if there were more bowled, the Duckworth-Lewis par score would determine the result.
"At tea, we worked out if there were no more interruptions, we would have to face 25 overs so we wanted 150," said Anderson.
In the end, they faced 26 overs and with only one wicket down, needed only 129.
"When you looked at the good wicket and the small ground, at the break, we knew six an over was possible," added Anderson.
Merrion's bonus was taking 30 runs off Kevin O'Brien's first three overs and although Trent Johnston bowled his 10 overs for 28 runs, the boundaries continued to flow at the other end, Clarence finishing with 12 fours and a six, and Joyce hitting 14 fours in his 72 off 79 balls.
O'Brien hit 76 off 56 balls but he was pedestrian compared to Johnston, who finished on 71 off just 38 balls with six fours and four sixes. Their unbeaten stand of 141 appeared to put the 2006 winners out of sight but Merrion remained focused to the end.
"Every Merrion player believed we could win it," said Anderson.