Merrion’s master blasters

by Gazette Reporter
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JOHN Anderson’s superb century led Merrion to their second Irish Senior Cup title as they beat holders Waringstown by 56 runs at a sun-drenched Castle Avenue.
Anderson – the competition’s leading run scorer – top scored with 109 as Merrion posted 252 for 9 after being asked to bat first on a green-tinged pitch.
The 33 year-old shared a pivotal second wicket stand of 108 in 137 balls with skipper Dom Joyce (67), whose half century was his fourth in five final appearances – clearly a player for the big occasion.
Joyce and Anderson safely negotiated probing opening spells from former Irish international Phil Eaglestone (3-57) and South African professional Cobus Pienaar (2-39), to build the platform for what would be a match-winning total.
Anderson stroked 15 boundaries in a chanceless innings, exhibiting perfect timing and placement to negate Waringstown’s experienced spin trio of Kyle McCallan, Gary Kidd and Lee Nelson.
“We were a bit slow at the start but I just knew I had to bat for 50 overs and we’d have a decent score as I would be able to accelerate as the innings went on,” said Man-of-the-Match Anderson afterwards.
“The margin of the win was more comfortable than I expected but the bowlers did a super job and were backed up by the fielding throughout. As a club and a team we take a lot of pride in the competition. We look to the Irish Senior Cup as a benchmark as to where we are in Ireland,” added Anderson.
Waringstown’s run chase never really got going, getting bogged down for long periods by a Merrion attack which never relinquished their stranglehold on the game.
Skipper Lee Nelson (48) and Greg Thompson (20) threatened briefly with a stand of 52, but with the required run rate steadily increasing, Merrion always held the upper hand.
It was two bowlers at the opposite ends of the career spectrum which exemplifed Merrion’s spirit.
15 year-old Max Neville set the tone with a magnificent opening spell, conceding just 12 runs in his seven over spell – as well as taking the crucial wicket of Pienaar, while Dave Langford-Smith, who turns 40 this year was equally as impressive.
“Lanky” (2-28) rolled back the years as he claimed the key wickets of Nelson and Thompson, even unveiling the “Ferret Dance” to evoke memories of the 2007 World Cup campaign.
Will von Behr (3-38), Tyrone Kane (2-25), John Anderson (1-33) and Tom Stanton (1-46) hardly bowled a bad ball all innings, and backed by an athletic fielding display meant an ultimately comfortable 56 run win.

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