THE big players enjoy the big stage and one of the players of the season, Jacques Snyman ensured that Carrickfergus won the Lagan Valley Steels T20 Cup.

In yesterday’s final at The Lawn, Snyman scored 79 from 32 balls and followed up with two wickets as Carrick ended Civil Service North’s proud unbeaten record.

Fittingly, the top sides in the group came through Saturday’s thrilling semi-finals and produced a 465-run feast in the decider but it was Carrick, who had lost to CSN last month when Snyman was run out by his partner for 19, who lifted the cup – their first senior success.

Snyman wasn’t even Carrick’s top run scorer in their massive 254 for three – comfortably a record total in the 17 finals – that honour went to former Glamorgan professional Jeremy Lawlor who took over after the South African’s departure in the 12th over, to finish 91 not out.

Remarkably, CSN were above the required rate after 12 overs of their chase, requiring another 104, but the return of Michael Armstrong restricted Luke Georgeson and Stuart Thompson to just six off the next over and although Georgeson hit the first ball of Neil Gill’s next over for his seventh six, two balls later he holed out to CJ van der Walt at point, seven short of his century.

When Ireland international Thompson was dismissed by Snyman two overs later, that was game up for CSN who finished on 211 for seven.

Yet, it could have been much closer – and arguably a different result only for an unfortunate injury to CSN skipper Gary Wilson.

The retired Ireland international had single-handedly got CSN into the final with an astonishing innings of 108 not out from 51 balls in Saturday’s semi-final against holders CIYMS – as they chased down 170 with an over to spare – but trying to prevent a second successive six from Snyman down at long on, he pulled a hamstring and had to leave the field.

He was allowed to open the batting with a runner (Thompson) but going for a big hit, in obvious agony, to his third ball, he was bowled by Snyman and his final had ended early.

It was a bad day for the captains because Michael Gilmour also ended the match with his arm in a sling after injuring his shoulder when attempting to take a catch in the fourth over so, he too, was unable to take any further part in the match and indeed missed the presentation ceremony. At about the same time he was finding out that he had broken his collarbone!

Gilmour had got his side off to a fast start with successive boundaries off Thompson but his dismissal in the third over for 15 let in Lawlor and with Snyman dominating the partnership they added a staggering 117 in the next nine and a half overs.

Lawlor was then matched run for run in Carrick’s third partnership by Northern Knights wicket-keeper Neil Rock who, playing his last game on loan for the club, hit 39 off just 17 balls, another valuable contribution to the winning total.

It obviously wasn’t a day for the bowlers but special mention for Ryan Eagleson, the one survivor from Carrick’s last appearance in the T20 Cup final, back in 2005. Now bowling off spin, he took two for 26 in his four overs- comfortably the most economical of the day - including the big wicket of fast starter Ross Adair for 45 off just 28 balls.

Class is definitely permanent.

SCORES: Carrickfergus 254-3 (J Lawlor 91, J Snyman 79, N Rock 39; R Adair 2-34) Civil Service North 211-7 (L Georgeson 93, R Adair 45, S Thompson 22; R Eagleson 2-26, J Snyman 2-32). Carrickfergus won by 43 runs.