Midleton made the long trip to Sligo’s picturesque Racecourse ground today for their eagerly awaited first-round National Cup game.
The home side won the toss, and elected to bat in blustery but dry conditions. Luke O’Reilly, making his debut at the senior level, made an early breakthrough in a spell of aggressive opening bowling. Sligo proved to be big hitters with the bat and quickly piled on the boundaries on a tight pitch before Dean Wilson entered the fray and turned the game on its head with a devastating bowling spell, ably assisted by Thackeray from the other end and some incredible fielding. The catches were too numerous to mention, Iqbal, Smyth, Kahn, Stack, and Wilson himself all producing catches of the highest quality to decimate the middle and lower orders despite the awkward winds, with Kieran O’Reilly and Miller Masters, also making his debut at this level, mopping up everything on the floor. Sligo simply had no response to the intensity of the Midleton display and was finally dismissed for 81 all out, Wilson taking 6 wickets and Thackeray 3.
As the clouds started to gather, Midleton openers Kahn and Casey set about the chase but were recalled only two and a half overs later as the heavens opened with the score at 18/0. For a while it looked touch and go, but as the clouds finally moved on, the openers returned to the crease to pile on the runs. Kahn finally fell for 20 after one big hit too many. Casey fell soon after as he tried his best to open up, but Luke Deane and Rob Smyth were on hand to steer the visitors home with 8 wickets to spare, as Midleton recorded their first-ever victory on the pitch in the national competition.