Cricket: Tariq stars as Railway resist final fightback from Clontarf
RAILWAY Union survived a dramatic batting collapse to win the LHW Senior Cup for the only the second time and, in turn, end Clontarf's four-year unbeaten run in the competition.
The College Park pitch proved a bowlers' delight with not one batsman reaching 50 in the final for the first time since 2002 as 18 wickets fell in 97 overs.
Needing only 135 for victory, Railway took tea at 90-1 -- Kenny Carroll the man out for just 20 -- but the loss of Tom Fisher for 43 immediately afterwards to a superb catch by Eoghan Delany was the inspiration for Clontarf to make a stunning comeback.
Ireland internationals Kevin O'Brien and Trent Johnston scored just 10 runs between them, Conor Mullan was caught behind for four and when Dhruv Kapoor was lbw to Alex Cusack without scoring, Railway were suddenly 115 for six.
Cusack and partner-in-crime Bill Coghlan were not finished, and when Mo Tariq and Graeme McDonnell were dismissed in successive overs, the Park Avenue side were, amazingly, 127-8.
International Cusack had 3-27 and Coghlan, 4-21 from 10 overs, but Saad Ullah and Sam Farthing held out to score the remaining eight runs and deny the holders.
The second innings had seemed a formality for Railway after they bowled out Clontarf for 134 in a painstaking 51.5 overs. Only Coghlan, with 40, held up the bowlers with captain Johnston, as usual, leading from the front. He took 2-18 from 10 overs, including the wicket of Richie Forrest after an opening stand of 42.
That was as good as it got for Clontarf with Tariq, who was named man of the match, taking the big wicket of Rod Hokin for nine and following up with those of Delany and Coghlan to leave the Castle Avenue side 90-5 and put Railway on course for their first cup success since 1967.
Meanwhile, Eoin Morgan and Ajmal Shahzad were preferred to Ravi Bopara and Tim Bresnan in England's squad for the first Test against Pakistan.
Morgan played in the two Tests against Bangladesh earlier in the summer and has been retained, following injury to Ian Bell, in line with selection policy of continuity.
"We've created our quality through consistency of selection and we need to see a bit more from Eoin," selector Geoff Miller said yesterday when he announced the 12-man squad.
On Saturday, Pakistan completed their first Test win against Australia for 15 years with an edgy three-wicket triumph at Headingley to share the two-match series 1-1.
Needing only 40 more runs with seven wickets left, they lost Azhar Ali, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal before Umar Gul finally hit the winning run.