Peak performance by RBAI
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
AN historic Schools Cup final will take place at Osborne Park on Friday when RBAI meet RBAI 2nd XI after the senior side defeated Wallace High by 120 runs in yesterday’s second semi-final.
It is the first time a 2nd XI have ever reached the final and the school’s Head of Cricket, Johnny Peak, admits all the pressure will be on him to ensure there is no upset.
There was no pressure on him yesterday because, as he said, “Wallace are a good team and could beat us on the day” but in the end there was never any danger of that as Thomas Johnston scored a century in RBAI’s impressive 247 for five in 40 overs and the Lisburn school were bowled out in the 29th over.
James Rose took four of the wickets but the two big ones were taken by Robert Craigan, who bowled Michael Waite for 12 – that was 157 fewer than in the made in the quarter-final against Friends School - and then had Wallace captain Cameron Doak caught behind for the same score to reduce the visitors to 37 for three.
Johnston survived a straightforward chance on 49 and a more difficult one on 60, but despite coming in at first wicket down, he brought up his century in the 36th over and when the overs ran out he was 127 not out, and had hit 11 fours and two sixes.
Peak will name an unchanged team for the cup final, which they last contested in 2018 – losing to Methodist College in a match which didn’t finish until 9.40pm – but RBAI’s name is certain to be on the cup again this year, for a 12th time.
The 2nd XI, who have defeated Ballyclare High, Belfast Royal Academy and then caused the shock of the season by beating Campbell College in the semi-final, are likely to be forced into one change with Callum Keys currently on crutches after spraining his ankle at athletics. Andrew Hamill is his likely replacement.
The final was due to be played at Castle Grounds on Wednesday but RBAI, after agreement from the Schools Committee, will host it themselves on Friday starting at 10am.