Cork Cricket Club

Cork County into Senior Cup semi-final after thriller in Galway

Division 1 league cricket took a backseat as Cork County turned their attention to regaining the Munster Senior Cup after the huge disappointment of crashing out at the quarter final stage to Galway last season. As luck would have it the draw for this season’s competition pit the two clubs against each other once again, on this occasion County had to make the long trip to Lydican in Galway. County were determined not to underestimate the Tribesmen after last season’s disappointment and brought a strong side up for the Senior Cup quarter final tie. Cork County were without West Indian all-rounder Andrew Saul and off-spinner Ciarán Healy but welcomed back skipper Robert Duggan after he missed last weekend’s match at home to WIT.

After arriving at the picturesque Lydican ground in Oranmore on the outskirts of Galway City the start of the match was delayed due to a heavy shower, however, once it had cleared Cork County skipper Duggan won the toss and decided to bowl. County opener James Duggan appeared a bit stiff after the long trip and took one or two over’s to settle into his rhythm while Parvez Ali bowled with his usual probing line and length without much luck. Duggan some found his line and length removing opener Bindal and number four batsman Speldewinde. Andrew Wootton replaced Parvez Ali from the clubhouse end and soon bowled opener Shane O’Malley with a ball which beat his outside edge and knocking over off stump. Some excellent ground fielding by vice captain Ross Durity led to the run out of number three batsman Vishal. At this stage, Cork County appeared in control with the Galway batsmen unable to build any meaningful partnerships. Number five batsman Imran had other ideas and immediately from ball one was intent on taking the attack to the County bowlers, taking a particular liking to all-rounder Bruce Koch’s bowling smashing one or two back over the South African’s head for 6. However, after taking one or two risk’s too many Imran was undone by the medium pace of Andrew Wootton as he skied one to Robert Duggan at extra-cover.

After Imran’s removal Danesh Ali joined Waqqas at the crease and both batsmen appeared intent on building a big partnership to push the Galway total towards a defendable target. Co. Galway’s star player Waqqas, in particular, batted with great control and power striking some great shots down the ground and off his legs. He was ably supported by Danesh Ali who intelligently got his partner on strike as often as possible. Cork County sought to take the pace off the ball with the introduction of medium pacer Matt Reed and the ploy appeared to work when he trapped Waqqas LBW for 51 runs. The removal of Waqqas injected some zip into the County step as Galway skipper Umair was run out by Koch at backward point for just 2 and he was soon followed by Ted Turton who was caught with a great effort from Andrew Wootton at first slip off the bowling of Reed. Danesh Ali had to take up the mantle of taking the attack to the County bowlers however he was soon bowled by Reed for a well earned 36 runs. Tail-ender Mahon was bowled by Koch leaving Co. Galway with a very competitive total of 201 for the Mardyke side to chase.

The Cork County reply appeared to get off to a promising start with opener Andrew Wootton (11 runs) playing some lovely shots through the covers and off his legs, however; once again he holed out to extra-cover from a ball from Waqqas. Wootton was replaced by captain, Robert Duggan, whose poor form with the bat continued when he was bowled third ball by Waqqas for 0. This signalled the start of an inspired spell of bowling from Galway opener Waqqas as he accounted for a mini collapse by the Cork County top order as Duggan’s departure was soon followed by opener Mirza Baig (8) and both the middle order batsmen Chris Banon (0) and Matt Reed (0); Galway could sense their place in the semi finals was edging closer. With County’s future participation in the 2010 Munster Senior Cup teetering on the verge elimination at 32 for 5, Michael John Wycherley joined in form batsman Bruce Koch at the crease. Koch had made a composed start to his innings, not taking too many risks while keeping the County scoreboard ticking over. Wycherley sensibly assessed the situation and as soon as he got his eye in he looked to take the attack to the Galway bowlers with some calculated blows to all sides of the wicket and in particular through the off-side.

As the partnership developed rapidly the enthusiasm of the Galway bowlers and fielders visibly dropped as Koch got into his stride with some beautifully timed shots through the covers and down the ground. Wycherley’s innings was an inspired and game changing one with the highlights two huge sixes; one over deep square leg and the other over long-off. Koch and Wycherley put on a 100 runs together and the mood in the Cork County team was transformed with thoughts of victory coming to the fore. With Wycherley seemingly in total control he was squared up by a delivery from the opener Danesh Ali, who had returned to finish his spell, and was caught behind for an inspired 45. Wycherley was replaced by Parvez Ali at the crease and he aimed to get Koch on strike as often as possible however he soon followed Wycherley after being bowled by Danesh Ali.

Vice Captain Ross Durity, who is returning to the side after recovering from a broken thumb, joined Koch at the crease with the score on 136 for 7; Cork County still requiring 66 for victory. Durity’s experience was crucial to deal with the pressurised run chase and to build a match winning partnership with Koch. Despite lacking match practise Durity ably worked the ball around to keep the scoreboard ticking over and also trying to get the free scoring Koch on strike. It was clear that Koch would have to bat through the innings if County were to progress into the semi-final. Koch and Durity used all their experience to keep chipping away at the required total while the Galway’s confidence seemed to wane as the Mardyke side edged towards an unlikely victory. At the end of the 43rd over County were suddenly within grasp of victory as Durity played a beautifully timed drive through the covers for 4. The sides were level and County only required one run for victory and with Koch on 96 not out it was set up for him to make his century while clinching victory for County. With Koch on strike at the start of the 44th over and the first ball from Galway skipper Umair in the slot he smashed the ball back over the bowlers head for 6 leading to huge celebrations by the rest of his Cork County teammates. Reaching his century and also clinching victory from the jaws of defeat for his side was an immense effort from the South African all-rounder and he rightly received the adulation of his teammates. Cork County now move on into the semi final of the Munster Senior Cup and face either Midleton at the Mardyke on the 2nd of August.

Munster Senior Cup quarter-final:
Co. Galway 201 all out lost to Cork County 207-7 by 3 wickets at Lydican. scorecard

Cork County team: R. Duggan*, R. Durity, B. Koch, A. Wootton, J. Duggan, P. Ali, M Reed, M.J. Wycherley, C. Banon†, M. Baig & B. Scott.

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