Ladies retain Challenge Cup

‘Player of the Match’ Suzi McCollum receives her award

Lurgan Ladies captain Hannah Grieve receives the Gallagher’s Women’s Challenge Cup from NCU President Clarence Hiles

Dramatic last over win

They say every Cup Final should have a hero, and in the 2018 Gallagher’s Women’s Challenge Cup Final, it was Sophie Hinds turn to play that vital role in helping Lurgan Ladies retain the trophy in a tense low scoring game at Stormont. At the same venue in 2002, Sophie’s father Neil Hinds played a crucial role in helping the Lurgan’s men’s team beat North Down to win the Challenge Cup. On Sunday it was the turn of his daughter, partnered by his wife Julie, to hit the winning boundary for the Lurgan girls off the 3rd last ball of the match.

Big boundaries at Stormont meant that only 6 fours were scored in the entire game and a total of 70 to win set by CSNI was a tougher task that it looked on paper. Lurgan’s bowlers started off well with the first two CSNI batters

back in the pavilion with just 9 runs on the board. Wickets fell at regular intervals with all the Lurgan bowlers proving economical and claiming wickets. Best figures returned were by Alex Craig who mopped up the lower batting order taking 3 wickets for just 3 runs in her two overs. Suzie McCollum took 2 wkts for 15 runs in her 3 overs and there were also 2 wkts for Jane Kilpatrick at a cost of just 16 runs in 4 overs. Hannah Grieve had 1 for 10 in 3, Lauren Breakey 1 for 19 in 3 and Emma McMurray 1 for 4 in 2 overs.

Lurgan’s reply started off in similar fashion to CSNI’s with openers Samantha Todd (2) and Hannah Grieve (7) both out with just 15 runs on the board. Three more wickets fell quickly and Lurgan were struggling at 30 for 5 going into the 9th over. However vital runs by Lauren Breakey (13), Chloe Neville (10) and Suzie McCollum (14) looked to be edging the Lurgan Ladies towards victory. With victory in sight, the Lurgan innings stuttered with the score on 64 as another two wickets fell bringing Julie Hinds to the middle to partner her daughter. Maidens by Gondhia and Gillian left Lurgan going into the last over needing 5 to win. A single was scored off the first 3 balls and as the fourth delivery pitched on leg stump, Sophie Hinds pulled the ball round the corner to the boundary behind square leg to spark off ecstatic scenes as her team mates swamped her in celebration.

Suzie McCollum won the ‘Player of the match award’ adjudicated by Uel Graham for her vital 2 wickets at the top of the CSNI batting order, and 14 runs in the middle of the Lurgan innings to help steer her side out of trouble.
It was an excellent win by the Lurgan girls, made to battle every inch of the way by a determined CSNI side. However the Cup deservedly goes back to Pollock Park again for another year.

Zoe Kilpatrick plays a sweep shot

Lauren Breakey in action at Stormont

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