The Leinster Lightning rounded off the Hanley Energy IP20 Festival picking up their fourth consecutive T20 Trophy title at a sun-kissed Pembroke Cricket Club.
The Munster Reds, in the game of the weekend, tried to upstage the party defeating the Lightning by two runs in the final games of the series but George Dockrell and his teammates were more than happy to pick up more silverware after the game.
Chasing 190 for victory the Lightning came agonisingly close as John Anderson (22*) could only score two off the final ball of the innings, when a boundary would have set up a super-over and a maximum would have brought victory.
All this, after Jarred Barnes had bowled a no-ball with what should have been the last ball of the innings and the Lightning needing seven runs.
The Lightning were in a good position to chase down the imposing target when Cairn Homes Player of the Festival, Andrew Balbirnie (61 off 34) in partnership with Lorcan Tucker (29) had them on 131 with 7 overs remaining.
Yaqoob Ali took two big wickets for the Reds but the Lightning were still well-placed needing 40 runs off the last four overs but Anderson (22 off 14) and young Fionn Hand (15 off 12) couldn’t quite complete a 100% T20 season for the Lightning in a pulsating finish.
The Munster Reds total was built an aggressive batting display down the card. Oliver Gunning of YMCA smashed 53 off 31, while Nic Pretorius kept the momentum up with 48 off 28 as the young Reds squad set a challenging target of 9.5 runs an over from the outset.
Lightning youngsters Hand (North County) and Tom Stanton (Merrion) bowled particularly well throughout their allocations taking 2-40 and 2-33 respectively.
Despite the narrow defeat, Lightning captain George Dockrell was on hand to collect the Hanley Energy IP20 Trophy with his teammates and paid tribute to the squad at the presentation ceremony.
“This is a great reward for all the hard work we’ve put in for the T20s this season.” he said. “It’s been tough between availability, injuries and even Kevin (O’Brien) heading to the T20 comp in Canada, but everyone that has stepped in to the team has stepped up and performed and it’s been really pleasing.”
The Lightning versus the Reds was a fitting match to round off a fantastic Festival Weekend hosted by Pembroke CC. There was plenty of family entertainment off the pitch and fantastic cricket on it.
For those unable to make it to Pembroke there was three days, six matches of live streaming provided by Cricket Leinster with thanks to Cairn Homes.
As George Dockrell and his Lightning side raised the IP20 Trophy, the sentiments among players, spectators and viewers was; “More Please!”
InterProvincial 20-Over Trophy, Leinster Lightning v Munster Reds
At Pembroke CC, Sydney Parade;
Munster Reds 189/5 (O Gunning 53; T Stanton 2-33, F Hand 2-40)
Leinster Lightning 187/6 (A Balbirnie 61, L Tucker 29; Y Ali 2-31)
Munster Reds win by 2 runs