Failure to bat out their 20 overs against Laurelvale proved fatal for Academy in the final of the Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 Shield at Shaw’s Bridge on Wednesday evening.
The County Armagh lads ran out winners by 21 runs, but with Academy sitting on 110 for 9 with 10 balls remaining and skipper Matthew Palmer at the crease, the odds were in their favour.
However, the loss of that final wicket handed the trophy to David Stinton’s side who had posted 131 for 4 after having been put in.
This decision brought early rewards with Vale reduced to 12 for 3 after 5 overs, thanks to strikes by Waqas Mohammad (2) and Darrell Martin, but batsman Gary Murphy with an unbeaten 88 held the innings together to set Academy needing to score at almost seven an over for victory.
The Hydepark lads slumped to 44 for 4, but a fine partnership between Palmer (31 not-out) and Stephen Fawcett (17) had them in a favourable position at 71 for 4 with 12 overs remaining.
Now needing 61 runs off 48 balls with six wickets in hand, Academy tails were up but the dismissal of Fawcett heralded a collapse that ended in defeat.
Winning skipper David Stinton received the trophy from NCU President, Billy Boyd, who also presented the Man of the Match award to top scorer Gary Murphy.
“It was a very disappointing result, but we will be pulling out all the stops to do better on Saturday in the semi-final of the Junior Cup against North Down II,” stated Mark Shields.
Summary: Laurelvale 131 for 4. G Murphy 88 not out, D Stinton 30, W Mohammad 3 for 22.
Academy 110. M Palmer 31 not out, D Stinton 2 for 26, D Henry 2 for 26, R Wilson 2 for 11.
Laurelvale won by 21 runs.