Eddie Richardson heroics leads North County to dramatic National Cup victory
North County captain Eddie Richardson produced a stunning all-round display with bat and ball, to lead his North County side to a dramatic come-from-behind 12-run victory over Terenure to win the 2022 Clear Currency National Cup final at Leinster Cricket Club.
Richardson top-scored with 64 runs in the first innings then followed it up by taking 4-13 with the ball, as North County clawed their way back from a seemingly hopeless position to win with five balls remaining.
After winning the toss Richardson chose to bat first. However, the opener Jamie Grassi (22) soon lost fellow opener Niall McGovern (1) and John Devane for a duck, leaving North County at 6-2 in the third over.
Richardson himself came in at number four and began a counter-attacking partnership with Grassi. Grassi hit the first maximum of the day in the ninth over off Mark Thomas, with the pair bringing up their 50-partnership in the 13th over.
However, while the two batters looked steady, Grassi soon was back in the pavilion having guided one straight to Mark Thomas at cover in the 15th over.
Jonathan Andrews (7) came and went, and North County had moved on to 86-4 at the half-way point of the 40-over innings. Richardson brought up his 50 off 65 balls, and had settled in to build a second half-century partnership with Andrew Sheridan.
With 10 overs remaining North County looked comfortable at 133-4, however, Zubair Hassan Khan (3-37) intervened with the ball, taking three wickets in just seven balls. He removed both Richardson (64) and Sheridan (34) in the 31st over - Richardson caught on the boundary by Séamus Lynch, while Sheridan chopped onto to the stumps. Their partnership of 58 was the highest of the North County innings.
Khan struck again in his next over, getting the veteran John Mooney (2) to edge one behind. North County had collapsed from 133-4 to 136-7 in the space of two overs.
Liam Harris (3-18) then came on to bowl off-spin and ended the North County innings taking the final three wickets - Sean Sludds (4), Usman Azhar (0), and Abdul Ghaffar (0) to post a total of 147.
Terenure’s response got off to the worst possible start, losing two early wickets – the first dismissal saw Richardson’s big in-swinger beat Séamus Lynch’s bat and crashing into leg stump, while the North County skipper had Donal Vaughan caught behind with his very next ball.
Following the loss of those two early wickets, Terenure’s Henry Dall and Raghav Grover stabilised the innings and began to build a partnership. After a 62-run stand, Dall (23) was caught in the deep by Jamie Grassi, but Grover was a calming influence in the middle, and half-way through their innings Terenure were 77-3, looking like a well-paced run-chase. Grover was dropped in the 22nd over, while on 36, and at that stage it looked like it could be very costly.
But North County’s bowling attack showed great discipline, with 38 dot balls out of 52 deliveries in the crucial middle overs. Then a full toss by Usman Azhar tempted Harris (6), and he was caught by Andrews at mid-wicket, as the pressure started to tell. Michael Cotter followed shortly after and Terenure were 94-5.
Despite an excellent innings, Raghav Grover (49) fell one run short of his half-century after getting trapped in front by the hugely impressive Richardson.
A late cameo from Terenure captain Dónal Lynch (24) wasn’t enough as he ended up running out of partners, with Khan (6), Safi (2), and Tukrel (3) all departing in quick succession. Needing 13 to win from the final over, the vastly experienced John Mooney stepped up and clean-bowled Mark Thomas with the first ball of the final over.
North County v Terenure, Clear Currency National Cup Final, Leinster Cricket Club, 28 August 2022
North County 147 (35.4 overs; E Richardson 64, A Sheridan 34; L Harris 3-18)
Terenure 135 (39.1 overs; R Grover 49, D Lynch 24; E Richardson 4-13)
North County won by 12 runs