Midleton Cricket Club made history today at the Cricket Field when they reached the third round of the Irish National Cup for the very first time with a 6 wicket victory over North West side Burndennett.
Majid Khan won the toss and elected to field on a windy day with the menacing dark clouds a constant threat. The visitors opened with Little Mark and Big Mark, as Doherty and captain Pollock developed a decent opening in the face of aggressive bowling from Gujjar and McEvoy. It looked like the visitors, who entered the game as odds on favourites, were about to go into overdrive in the 8th over though, as the ten runs from Gujjar’s bowling left them on 29/0, but in an instant the game was turned on its head as McEvoy finally made the breakthrough, taking the wicket of the captain for 16 thanks to an alert Luke Deane behind the stumps. Suddenly, Burndennett were in disarray, as Dean Wilson and Danish Iqbal took over the bowling duties. Both men bowled what were to be the remaining 12 overs of the innings, during which they dismissed the visitors for only a further 29 runs as the wickets fell thick and fast. Fellow opener Doherty was caught LBW by Wilson, before catches by Rob Smyth, Kieran O’Reilly, Miller Masters and another worldy by Luke Deane destroyed any resistance in the middle order. The bowling was simply outstanding, Iqbal finishing with figures of 4/11 and Wilson with figures of 5/15 to add to the six wickets he had taken in the First Round game in Sligo as the visitors were finally dismissed for a total of 58.
However, Midleton have a tradition of doing things the hard way when it comes to batting, and found themselves rocked early on by the pace of the South African professional Ruqeno Weavers who took two wickets in the second over of his opening spell to leave the hosts on the ropes at 4/2. For a moment, it looked like it could go either way, but captain Majid Khan was on hand to steady the ship with a patient performance peppered with some fine shots, ably assisted by New Zealander Miller Masters. Weavers eventually trapped Masters LBW for 4, but young Kieran O’Reilly was on hand to carry the fight to Burndennett with an assured performance that belied his age and kept the scoreboard kept ticking over nicely. Khan will have been disappointed to fall to an excellent stumping by Kelley for 27 with only two runs required to win, but Simon Casey was on hand to admire another stunning shot by O’Reilly from close range that crossed the boundary and sealed the most unlikely of victories, the first ever recorded by a Munster side against a team from the North West.
Midleton now progress to the Quarter Finals of the competition and remain as the only Cork side left in national competition this season.