Poynter times it juts right to complete dramatic revival for Clontarf
Batsman’s classy century secures Irish Senior Cup with victory over Merrion
Clontarf’s Andrew Poynter celebrates after his century help secure the RSA Irish Senior Cup against Merrion in Malahide. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Andrew Poynter completed the final act in the resurrection of Clontarf Cricket Club and possibly his international career at Malahide on Saturday as his brilliantly constructed century led his side to their first ever RSA Irish Senior Cup title with a six-wicket victory over Merrion.
In front of the stands that will house 10,000 supporters at next week’s one-day international, the 26-year-old Poynter showed the national selectors, including senior coach Phil Simmons, that he is ready to add to his 44 caps, the last of which came in August 2012.
Since then of course, Clontarf suffered relegation to Division Two, but on Saturday it was smiles all round for Eoghan Delany’s side as they added the Bob Kerr Trophy to the Division Two title.
And it was an emotional moment for former Ireland all-rounder Andre Botha, now coach at Castle Avenue in his second coming, who picked up a record sixth All-Ireland winner’s medal to go with the five he won with North County.
“Obviously the feeling is fantastic, actually I was very close to tears today,” said the 37-year-old South African-born player. “It is special, firstly I grew up in Clontarf, now it’s a personal thing, you know being a new coach and all that kind of stuff.
“I think that’s more of the achievement I enjoy. The game plan worked perfect and as I said to Poynts afterwards, big boys win big games, and he played absolutely fantastic.”
High praise indeed, but Poynter’s knock was one of real class, as much in how it was paced to perfection as to some of the sumptuous shots and and astute running between the wickets.
He shared in two fine partnerships along the way after openers Dom Rigby (21) and Bill Coghlan (20) went after making decent starts. Alongside Botha (42), Poynter put on 89 for the third wicket before being joined by Delany in a 97-run stand that brought them to the edge of victory.
Delany was bowled by Dom Joyce in the 48th over, but Vijay Gopal got Poynter on strike and he brought up his century off the penultimate ball of the 49th over with the shot of the day as he crushed the ball through covers for his second century of the season.
That left his side needing just two runs, the first of which was handed out by the umpires after Tyrone Kane bowled a no-ball. Poynter then hit the final ball of the over into the covers to set off a pitch invasion from his team-mates and raucous celebrations amongst the large Clontarf contingent in the stand.
Presented with the man of the match by Simmons, Poynter declared his intent to win his way back into the national team ahead of November’s World Twenty20 qualifiers.
And even though both departed to seamer Zander van der Merwe (four for 64) before pushing on to their centuries, Merrion skipper Joyce came in and clobbered 51 off 31 balls to help his side post a score of 253 for seven.
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