Pembroke completed the senior double by winning the LHW Financial Planning Premier League on Saturday with a thrilling 1-wicket victory over Merrion.
Ryan Hopkins was the hero of the hour with a simply stunning unbeaten half-century that guided Pembroke to league glory as they deposed the defending champions in dramatic fashion.
Hopkins (54*) came to the crease with Pembroke six down and requiring 81 runs for victory, but he shepherded the tail expertly to ensure the Sydney Parade outfit added league glory to their Irish Senior Cup triumph of a fortnight ago.
All this came after James Groom (4-27) had ripped through the Pembroke top-order with four LBW decisions that included both Balbirnie brothers, Theo Lawson and Lorcan Tucker.
JJ Garth (15) and Hopkins seemed to have everything under control until a poor run to Dave Langford-Smith left Garth short of his ground and Pembroke eight-down. When Paul Lawson (9) fell shortly after, Hopkins had only Josh Little (2*) for company and 26 runs still required.
Little was protected, facing just ten deliveries and scoring the best two not out of his career to date, as Hopkins took the pressure on himself stroking five glorious boundaries and two straight sixes to the Hazeldene End.
Merrion may well feel they let this one get away from them as even at half-time their 190 all out looked a defendable total.
Runs on the board are often crucial in finals, and it almost proved the case once again on Saturday as John Anderson was the rock around which Merrion built their innings.
Anderson struck just six boundaries in his 112-ball 64 as only Dom Joyce (24) and Sean Stanton (24) made it past 20 in support of the captain.
Anderson was the ninth wicket to fall as he was forced to try and hit out as he ran out of partners. Shaheen Khan rewarded for his persistence with that wicket and he also took the final wicket of Newton to finish with figures of 3-37.
Jack Balbirnie (2-28), JJ Garth (2-32) and Barry McCarthy (2-39) all pitched in with a brace of wickets as Pembroke restricted the home side to a total under 200.
How important that would prove in the end as Ryan Hopkins had just about enough to take Pembroke home, seal the double and set off wild celebrations.
What a fantastic game of cricket and a brilliant way to wrap up the Premier League season. A wonderful day’s entertainment in front of a huge crowd at Anglesea Road.
LHW Financial Planning Cricket Leinster Premier League
Merrion v Pembroke, Saturday September 7th, Anglesea Road