St Johnston held their nerve to win a tense T20 final by just seven runs in front of a large crowd at Burndennett.
Chasing 120 for victory, Killyclooney looked on course to lift the trophy as Giles Moan hit a run-a-ball 28 (2 fours, 2 sixes) sharing an opening stand of 48 with William Finlay (17).
However, leg-spinner David Anthony (2-16) accounted for both in the space of three balls to alter the dynamic of the contest.
There was a further bonus for St Johnston when the umpires gave five penalty runs as the incoming batsman didn't cross over on the field after the fall of the second wicket - what a pivotal moment that was to be.
Alan Colhoun cleared the ropes twice in an even time 22, but the Saints kept the pressure on and got wickets at vital times – two apiece for Michael Rankin (2-19) and the wily Ian Macbeth (2-25).
In what was probably the deciding factor in the contest was the fielding – the Saints clung on to nearly all the chances offered, with Scott Macbeth claiming four catches.
With 26 needed from the last three overs, the Saints opted for the experience of Dawid Barnard (1-10), who did superbly in bowling the crucial 18th and 20th overs dismissing Colhoun, while Macbeth accounted for the dangerous Mark Gordon and Jordan Connor in the 19th as the noise levels lifted considerably.
In the end, just seven runs separated the sides, with St Johnston doing superbly to defend what looked a relatively modest 119 at the half-way stage.
David Lapsley top scored for St Johnston, hitting two sixes and a four in his 31, while Michael Rankin also cleared the ropes twice in a breezy 22.
Matthew Orr’s unbeaten 27 (3 fours, 1 six) was also to prove crucial in the final analysis.
The Killyclooney bowling unit stuck to their task well, with all five getting wickets. Jordan Connor (3-32) was the most successful, while there were two apiece for Jordan Nelson (2-13) and Jason Wallace (2-27), while Mark Gordon (1-19) and Timmy Dougherty (1-26) were the other wicket takers.
An excellent game, and credit to both sides for another tremendous contest following on from last weekend’s Faughan Valley Cup final.
T20 CUP FINAL
At Burndennett, St Johnston beat Killyclooney by 7 runs
St Johnston 119 all out (19.2 overs; David Lapsley 31, Matthew Orr 27no, Michael Rankin 22; Jordan Connor 3-32, Jordan Nelson 2-13, Jason Wallace 2-27)
Killyclooney 112/8 (20 overs; Giles Moan 28, Alan Colhoun 22; David Anthony 2-16, Michael Rankin 2-19, Ian Macbeth 2-25)