The column in a scorecard devoted to “Extras” dominated yesterday’s Ulster Bank Schools Cup final – and ultimately gave RBAI victory by 12 runs over a Regent House side that was literally wide of the mark.
Regent conceded a remarkable 56 extras in 40 overs to boost an “Inst” total to 180 for 6 – and 35 of them came from wides. In all, the Newtownards side gave away 23 extras more than “Inst” – as well as the equivalent of five overs – and that, in the end saw the trophy return to the Belfast school after an absence of four years. A last minute switch of venue from a rain affected Muckamore to Shaw’s Bridge in Belfast saw “Inst” take first knock, and in conditions not conducive to fast scoring their total of 180 with four wickets left was always going to be a challenge.
Regent did well to dismiss the “Inst” danger men Ben Wylie and Sam Shannon before either had reached 20 but Mark Irwin with an undefeated 40 and a little help from Peter Neil (16) and Ben Alexander (14 not out) raised a respectable total. But the highest score came not from the bat but in the “extras” column that was to hoist the only half century of the match.
Regent’s hopes lay in the hands of opening batsman Peter Eakin whose undefeated 79 had knocked out holders Foyle & Londonderry in the semi-finals. In the opening overs it looked as those hopes would be realised with three flashing boundaries in quick succession but when he fell for 15 the Regent struggle was always going to be uphill.
The top order quickly followed Eakin to the pavilion, apart from Gary Wright with 28, and at 91 for 6 the game was all but up. The middle and late order of Paul Ritchie (13), William Mayne (14), Jason Boobyer (20) and Stephen Forrest (21 not out) took the scores closer than once imagined. But the run rate was always going to be a problem and so it proved with 28 required off the last two overs and 22 off the last.
In the end Regent’s last wicket pair of Forrest and Tim Carson remained together, putting on a gallant 32 for the last wicket – with help from the “Inst” bowlers. They too were liberal with their extras – again the column registered the highest total of the innings at 33 – but not as generous as the Regent attack.
Scoreboard: RBAI: B Wylie b Cunningham 19 M Mairs c Eakin b Cunningham 6 S Shannon run out 18 M Irwin not out 40 A Montgomery b Eakin 6 P Bardgett b Ritchie 3 P Neil c Malcolm-Bourne b Cunningham 16 B Alexander not out 14 Extras 56 Total (for 6 wks) 180 FoW: 1-35, 2-55, 3-76, 4-109, 5-119, 6-149 Bowling: T Donnan 8-19-0 P Eakin 8-33-1 S Cunningham 7-37-3 T Carson 8-21-0 A Malcolm-Bourne 7-36-0 P Ritchie 2-15-1 Regent House: P Eakin c Neil b Mairs 15 G Wright b Shannon 28 N Burns lbw b Mairs 0 A Malcolm-Bourne run out 3 T Donnan c Wylie b Shannon 9 P Ritchie b Ross 13 W Mayne run out 14 J Boobyer b Hill 20 S Forrest not out 21 G Cunningham lbw b Hill 6 T Carson not out 6 Extras 33 Total: (for 9 wks) 168 FoW: 1-17, 2-19, 3-36, 4-64, 5-73, 6-91, 7-125, 8-128, 9-136 Bowling: S Shannon 8-28-2 M Mairs 7-35-2 B Wylie 8-27-0 B Alexander 3-7-0 T Hill 7-35-2 S Ross 7-31-1
All photos ©Roland White/Presseye