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Cork Harlequins pulled off a big T20 run chase to beat The Hills CC by 4 wickets with a ball to spare up at the Skerries, ensuring there will be a local club in the #ClearSpeaks AIT20 final in Cork on Sunday 21st August.

In July, Harlequins for the second year in a row, progressed to an All Ireland semi-final in Dublin, drawing Leinster Champions, The Hills CC.

The Semi-final was a high-scoring classic T20, in which both teams made the best of a good batting track and lightning-quick outfield to rack up a 353-run thriller.

The Hills batted first, with openers Shields (39) & Mcloughlin-Gavin (82) scoring at a high tempo. Shields went in the 10th over, which brought out Reds star Murray Commins (25). His brief cameo ended in the 14th over and it was left to McLoughlin-Gavin to shepherd the middle order to what looked like a very big 175/6. This Quins side is a good bowling outfit & the Hills total belied a good team performance out on the field. The debate at halftime was that with the favourable batting conditions, should it have been more? For Quins, the pick of the bowlers was Ryan Joyce with 3 overs 3/22 & Captain Mathew Brewster with 3 overs 2/39. However a mention for Adam Hickey who put in 4 overs 0/17, which in the context of the match was probably the best bowling return of the day.

Harlequins started chasing 1.46 runs per ball, with two wickets going in the opening overs. This brought Brandon Kruger to the crease. In the 6th over a near tragedy occurred off the field. Brandon hit a low six to backward square where it struck a very young supporter (child of one of the Hills players). This brought the game to a stop as urgent medical aid was sought and the child taken to hospital. We are pleased to report that at the time of writing he is doing well and expected to make a full recovery.

A mention of the comfort & sportsmanship shown to Brandon by the Hills players, during what was one of the worst moments one could imagine. The game was suspended for half an hour to allow matters to be resolved and give both sides a chance to gather themselves.

At the restart, the Harlequins batters faced a simple equation, 2 or more runs per ball they win, 1 or less they lose. There then followed 85 balls of pure T20 drama as that equation went one way and then the other, each side contesting every delivery. Brandon anchored the run chase with the Quins middle order just hitting enough boundaries to keep in touch with a date with destiny in Cork. In the end, two smashed Shivam Kislay 4’s, saw Quins over the line. Brandon Kruger 68, Shivam Kislay 39no, Seanan Jones 23.

The Clear Currency All Ireland T20 Finals will be staged at The Richard Beamish Grounds, Mardyke, Cork. This Sunday 21st August. The women’s final between Merrion CC & CSNI CC is at 11 am. The Men’s final is between Cork Harlequins CC & CIYMS CC at 3 pm.

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