Strabane are the Ulster Shield winners for 2017 after Tommy Barr’s side beat St Johnston in a nerve-jangling “super over” after the two sides had tied the 20-over decider. The Red Caps became the first North West team to claim the trophy and they did so after an enthralling contest that ebbed and flowed for the whole of the second innings.
The Saints had enjoyed a “bye” into the final after Armagh decided not to travel whereas the Red Caps accounted for Holywood, who had sportingly agreed to fill in for the also absent Woodvale. Aaron Gillespie’s 39 was best of Strabane’s 123-9 in that first match while there were also cameos from Kevin Pretorius (18), Khushpal Singh (17) and Mark Snodgrass (16*).
Wes Hurn (3-24) was best with the ball for the visitors who were going well in reply before Strabane tightened the screw. Jordan Wilson made 25 and Hurn 18 but 4 wickets for Rhys Logue- three of them in the same over-and a couple for Snodgrass and Pretorius who also took an outrageous catch, saw the NCU side come up just short in reply.
That cleared the decks for the final and what a game it turned out to be. The home side looked to be running away with it as Pretorius and Andy Barr put on a 100-run stand for the first wicket in less than 10 overs- Barr with 7 fours and 4 sixes in his 59 while the South African made 34.
To be fair to the Saints they kept at it however and Nathan Cole (2-18) and David Anthony (2-29) were among the bowlers who slowed Strabane up after that.
A final total of 156-5 looked useful but was also well below what the Donegal men feared they would be chasing. They were off the pace in the first six overs but the momentum swung completely on a blistering innings from skipper David Lapsley who blasted 5 sixes and 5 fours in a thoroughly entertaining 74 not out.
Heading into the last over the Saints needed just 4 to win but it was Pretorius who was to have the final say as he kept them to just 3, leading to the 6-ball shoot-out.
The visitors made 7 from their go while Aaron Gillespie and Kevin Pretorius took six runs from the first five deliveries, with man of the moment Pretorius securing the dramatic win with two off the last, bringing a first trophy of the season to the Park.
Ulster Shield semi-final, Strabane beat Holywood by 16 runs.
Strabane 123-5 (20 overs; A Gillespie 39, W Hurn 3-24)
Holywood 107 all out (20 overs; J Wilson 25, R Logue 4-14; M Snodgrass 2-16, K Pretorius 2-22)
Ulster Shield Final
Strabane beat St Johnston 8-7 in a super over.
Strabane 156-5 (20 overs; A Barr 59, K Pretorius 34, R Gallagher 20, N Cole 2-18, D Anthony 2-29)
St Johnston 156-4 (20 overs; D Lapsley 74*, M Rankin 30, D Mcabeth 22, J Macbeth 20)