Cup Final victory eludes Kerry cricketers

Cricket: Munster Senior Cup Final

Philip Exley

After a challenging season marred by problems with the outfield at the Oyster Oval in April and poor form in the early months Kerry's First XI arrived at a sun drenched Mardyke on Saturday with some optimism of ending their campaign by pushing their all-powerful Cork County opponents close in the Senior Cup Final.

A couple of late season league wins had pushed Kerry up the table and left the promise of silverware on offer at their opponents' lovely home ground. However, having asked Cork to bat, Kerry soon found their openers Cormac Hassett and Brandon Kruger in dominant form. They made a serene start, scoring over four an over from early on and accelerating nicely. By the time the first wicket fell at 146 Kerry were already contemplating chasing a big total. Kruger was out first for a valuable 55 and Hassett went on to score 103 before surrendering his wicket to an extravagant shot best left in the armoury of a T20 batsman. Further contributions from Benton and the rest of the Cork middle order carried Cork to a huge total of 363-6. For their part Kerry were wasteful in the field with wides and overthrows and unfortunate enough to spill various catches that could have altered the shape of the innings. Indeed their only real highlight was Khurram's capture of two wickets in two balls late on.

Facing a daunting task in their innings Kerry got the worst possible start when their premier batsman, Awais Saghair, was bowled first ball by a terrific delivery from paceman Harvey Wooton.

Alam Morshed and Qassim Butt both offered resistance to Cork's probing attack but the run chase was never on as wickets fell at regular intervals and Cork bowler Saddique bamboozled the visitors with a haul of five for fifteen off six overs. A truly disappointing total was averted, however, by some late innings hitting from Mohsin, Roux and Kashif who lifted the total to 157 all out.

Cork County, 363 for 6 beat County Kerry, 157 all out by 206 runs.

Congratulations to Cork County whose 206 run victory emphasised their dominance over not only Kerry but every other club in Munster in all competitions. For Kerry, a sobering defeat but the hope of a much stronger season next year.