A super-over to decide the winner, 22 wickets fall, a stunning half-century in boundaries and yet the abiding memory of a thrilling match in Longford is of a nasty undercurrent between these two midland rivals.
The level of vitriol between the two sides was high throughout but it all came to a head in the 30th over of the Laois reply as Longford remarkably forced the super-over.
With the scores tied and Laois number 11 Louis Hofmeyr at the crease, it took five minutes between the fourth and fifth ball being bowled as insults were traded and Longford captain Shamaz Sarfraz had to be reminded by the umpires to keep his players in check.
Fadi Khan’s delivery was on the money however, trapping Hofmeyr LBW and forcing the tie. What followed was a scene reminiscent of Manchester United against Arsenal twenty years ago when Martin Keown jumped on Ruud van Nistelrooy.
The Longford players celebrated in the face of young Hofmeyr with incredible zeal and passion, giving him send-offs with hand gestures that were unquestionable. Meanwhile, another player raced to slide in front of the Laois fans and taunt them about the outcome.
It was all very unedifying, not in the spirit of cricket and certainly not a good sight on Leinster Cricket ground.
Laois and Hofmeyr aren’t completely innocent in this either. The youngster giving Hamsa Hamayun a loud send-off after sensationally running him out in the first innings having been taken for three successive sixes by the batsmen in the previous over.
As for the cricket, it was a cracking match that ebbed and flowed throughout.
Underway in the super over, Danish Javed bowling to Armand Smit— Cricket Leinster (@cricketleinster) July 7, 2019
4 - top edge over the keeper
6 - high over long on
Leg bye on the pitch
Paul Croke facing - bowled! 11/1
Jonny Yasin facing - single to point
12/1 for Laois
Longford will require 13 pic.twitter.com/VhBK1iWwKC
After Laois opted to bowl, they reduced Longford to 15/2 before Hamayun (59; 7x4 4x6) smashed the home side back into the game.
Once he fell however, the Longford innings collapsed, helped by a stupendous catch at gully by Jonny Yasin to remove captain Sarfraz (5). Sarfraz was the fifth wicket to fall for 102 and with Laois captain Usama Raees taking 3-22, Longford were all out for 128 with the first ball after drinks.
Laois were firm favourites at the halfway stage, even more so when Paul Croke struck four sixes and three maximums in a rapid innings of 42. Unfortunately for Laois, Omar Rasool (32) was the only other player to score more than 15 in the innings.
Jonny Yasin (15) looked likely to ease the visitors home with two fours and a huge 6 in his cameo before picking out mid-on with only eight runs required.
Instead Laois lost three more wickets for seven, including that fateful wicket of Hofmeyr to set up the super-over.
In that Super-Over, Armand Smit top-edged a boundary over the keeper before smashing a six over long-on as Laois posted 12/1 off their six deliveries.
In reply, Hamayun smashed the first ball over long-off for another six before being caught at long-off next delivery. After a wide, it fell to Adnan Sarfraz to hammer another six over long-on and seal Longford’s passage to the final of the Senior 2 Cup final.
If only the cricket was the only topic of conversation post-game.
In the final, Longford will face Clontarf II after they defeated Phoenix II by 6-wickets in Castle Avenue. Phoenix were bowled out for 160 before the home side chased down their target for the loss of four wickets.
Senior 2 Cup Semi-Final
Longford v Laois, Sunday July 7th, Newtownforbes
Longford 128 a/o 20.1 overs (H Hamayun 59; U Raees 3-22, J Amin 2-16)
Laois 128 a/o 29.5 overs (P Croke 42, O Rasool 32; M Imran 3-22, S Tariq 2-15, D Javed 2-25)
Laois 12/1 (A Smit 10)
Longford 13/1 0.3 overs (H Hamuyun 6, A Sarfraz 6*)
Longford win in Super-Over