Photo Credit: Sportsfile
This Saturday and Sunday, Waringstown Cricket Club will host the Final of both the Arachas Irish Senior Cup and Arachas National Cup – with the hosts Waringstown taking on Leinster in the first decider, while Derriaghy will face Cliftonville Academy in the second.
Waringstown will be looking to claim a seventh Irish Senior Cup title, but their first since 2018, after overcoming fierce southern rivals Merrion in Stormont last month, while Leinster – who won their one and only title in 2009 – beat Donemana in Milverton.
In the Arachas National Cup final a new name will adorn the trophy at the end of the game, as Derriaghy will look to go one step further than they did in 2013, while Cliftonville Academy will also be looking for their first national piece of silverware.The captains speak
Greg Thompson, Waringstown CC captain, said:
“We’ve had to dig deep this year in terms of having had a lot of injuries, guys being called up to representative the teams, etc. We’ve had to go deep into the well and use all of our resources. We talked at the start of season about getting into winning habits and of doing the right things as often as possible, and in those tight games we’ve been able to do that. No doubt being at home has helped, but that’s just the luck of the draw. We’ve played good cricket and we’ve beaten three of the historically big teams within Leinster in Clontarf, Merrion and Pembroke.
“Next Saturday against Leinster we’re hoping to be pretty much at full strength, which would be the first time this season – and we’ll have plenty of confidence. The one thing we do have is we have an awful lot of experience when it comes to cup finals. Whether it’s myself, Adan Dennison, or Johnathan Bushe, that’s a lot of experience.
“We were drawn away to Leinster last year in our first round of the Cup and we lost. It was a very competitive game, and they deserved to go through. We were missing one or two players, but they certainly did a number on us there. We’ve obviously done a bit of research, but on the day it comes down to who steps up, and who’s willing to put in the big performance. I always think that big matches require big players to put in big performances, and we’ve an awful lot of guys that are willing to do that.”
Bilal Azhar, Leinster CC captain, said:
“When we won the first two games our confidence grew. We never looked back after that, only forward. The team was gelling together very nicely. Peter Francis led from the front while Saqib Bahadur, Monil Patel, and Joey Caroll all came together with the bat at the right time.
“We take every game as it comes and don’t think too far ahead. We know we just have to fight for every single ball, fight for every single run and that’s the same mentality we bring it to any game. We just ignore everything else that’s happening. When we’re at the ground we just focus on our abilities and our strengths. That has stood to us so far, and hopefully it will help us at The Lawn on Saturday.
“Waringstown is a great club, they’ve been in finals a lot more than anybody else, but at the same time we know that the way we started our campaign, by beating two of best teams in in the competition, that we have a great chance to win the title this weekend.”
Max Burton, Cliftonville Academy CC captain, said:
“The National Cup was something that we looked at trying to do well in at the start of the season. Last year we got beaten by Terenure who went on to reach the final. We targeted it last year but came unstuck, however we’ve done well so far in 2023 and would like to finish it off now.
“I think when you look back at the merger between the two clubs, Cliftonville didn’t have a ground in 2017 and Academy were struggling in the same area. You’ve got to take your hat off to the guys who made the decision that ultimately merged the two clubs together – I think there were quite a few doubters back then, but if you look back now, I think it’s really paid off.
“Muckamore gave us a really good game in the semi-final. If you go back to the first few rounds, I’d say they were all fairly comfortable victories – thankfully we got past Muckamore. They hadn’t lost the game all season, so they were in a habit of winning whereas we were in a similar period as last year where we were trying to get back into that winning habit. To go there is never easy, and we kept them to a low total on a tough pitch. Jared Wilson showed his class as he always does and got us through.
“It’s been a while since we’ve got any silverware. It was a tough year last year, but the thing I’ve been talking about this year to the boys is to really stick it out – then we can look back and see how far we’ve come. If we do get a bit of silverware at the end it would be really rewarding, especially for a club that merged six years ago. It would be really satisfying if it happened.”
Curtis Moorhead, Derriaghy CC captain, said:
“We love playing in the National Cup. It’s always nice when you get the opportunity to play teams from all across the island of Ireland. Sometimes you get a nice away draw, but this year all our games have been at home.
“It was an emotional win in the semi-final. When you go out and only get 119 with the bat, especially against a side as good as Rush, I don’t think anybody around the ground held much hope for us. And I dare say even the players ourselves. However, that probably took a lot of pressure off us going out, and we got a few of their big names out quickly. And let’s not forget about the crowd in Derriaghy. They were absolutely amazing. It was just one of those days when everything seems to go right for you in the field. We’re going to remember for many years to come. Games like that only come round once in two or three years – it was great to be able to captain them that day.
“We’re going to play Cliftonville Academy a lot over the next few weeks. I think over the next six games we play across the league and the Cup, we will be playing Cliftonville Academy in four of them – so I dare say we’ll get used to playing them. We get on really well with them, we play hard but share a beer with each other afterwards. They happened to get the better of us in the league in a very close game there recently, but, hopefully, we can rectify that on Sunday.”
Arachas Irish Senior Cup Final – Saturday 12 August: Waringstown v Leinster (The Lawn, Waringstown: 12pm start)
Arachas National Cup Final – Sunday 13 August: Derriaghy v Cliftonville Academy (The Lawn, Waringstown: 1pm start)
Waringstown CC: Adam Dennison, James McCollum, Pat Botha, Morgan Topping, Greg Thompson (c), Graham Hume, Ross Allen, James Cameron Dow, Jonathan Bushe, Ben Snell, James Mitchell, Rory Bissell, Phil Eaglestone, Lee Nelson, Ross Waite.
Leinster CC: Bilal Azhar (c), Saqib Bahadur, Joey Carroll, Tristen de Beer, Gareth Delany, Peter Francis, Michael Hogan, Mark Tonge, Jai Moondra, Monil Patel, Patrick Lynch, Dev Ranolia, Devan Keenan.
Derriaghy CC: Ross Bailey, Matthew Halliday, Sam Gordon, Jamie Magowan, Patrick Kruger, Jordan Wade, Craig Lewis, Chris Dempsey, David Scott, Ross Glover, Ivan Sinovic, Curtis Moorhead (c), Wayne Hughes.
Cliftonville Academy CC: Max Burton (c), Francis Collins, Jack Burton, Jared Wilson, Abhishek Raut, Varun Chopra, Matthew McCord, Adam Kelso, Richard Hood, Andrew Forbes, Ben Kane, Jonathan Terrett, Neil Cahill, David Reid.
The game will be broadcast live on ICC.tv
Live scores will be available via our Match Centre.
Both matches will be played at The Lawn in Waringstown, where entry is free. There will be tiered seating in the ground, while the club will have coffee, tea, and food trucks, while the bar will also be open.