Britton excited by Cork challenge
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
IT’S been a busy week for Brigade skipper Andy Britton after their All-Ireland T20 Cup semi-final win over Carrickfergus on Sunday. He has had to do his homework on Cork Harlequins, the Beechgrove side’s opponents in tomorrow’s final at Rathmines (2pm).
It has usually been straightforward progress for the Leinster teams when they face Munster opposition in the T20 semi-final but this year Harlequins stunned cup kings Merrion in their own backyard, chasing down 154 with four wickets and one ball to spare.
“Certainly not who we were expecting to face in the final,” admits Britton, “not with the sort of team Merrion have, so we will have to treat them with respect.
“I’ve been talking to a couple of my inside men in Dublin to find out about some of their players, they have a couple of Afghan guys, and Kyle Magee knows a bit about them from the under-age groups.
“But the favourites tag means nothing – Carrick were favourites in our semi-final and look what happened – so we know we’ll have to be at our best to win the Cup.”
Both semi-finals followed similar patterns with the team batting second looking down and out with four overs to go but a superb chase got Brigade and Harlequins over the line.
Senan Jones and Mubeen Ali hit 41 off the final 23 balls to beat Merrion and Britton himself was almost solely responsible for scoring 39 off the last 18 balls as Brigade passed Carrick’s 146 with four balls in hand.
“It’s nice to click now and again,” the skipper says modestly. “I just swing from the hip and hope it comes off. That’s what T20 is all about. But it was specially nice to go into a semi-final and rock up like that against one of the best teams in the NCU.
“Davy Barr is the man in form and we build the innings around him, young Adam McDaid has come in at No 3 and is doing well. He’s getting that start and hopefully he can push on.
“With the ball, Ryan Macbeth is bowling well up top and our two spinners, Ifti Hussain and Ross Allen, are keeping it tight. So hopefully we have enough to get us over the line.”
By the time Brigade head south, they will hope to have booked their place in the Senior Cup final as well, with victory over Newbuildings.
Once again it is surprise opposition for Britton’s side after Newbuildings knocked out holders Donemana in the quarter-final but, as the Brigade skipper knows, any team with Johnny Thompson in it is always a danger.
Britton described former team-mate Thompson’s sensational 144 against another of his former clubs as ‘unreal’ but added: “JT has that in his locker, he can do that in any game, so we will have to watch out. But with him and Gareth (McKeegan, another Brigade old boy) in the Newbuildings side it is always special against those two guys.”