It was down to the young players of both Laois 1st and 3rd XI to achieve a memorable double in the Midlands and Southeast Cricket Association Wallace and Dick O’Neill cup finals.
John Ozenbrook, captain of Laois 1st team had an early start to the day with a 6.30am tee off in the Mountrath Golf Club Captains prize and won the gross prize playing off a 4 handicap.
After this it was on to North Kildare Cricket Club to lead the team in the Wallace Cup Final against Knockharley CC from Navan. Knockharley batted first on a very green wicket that had plenty in it for the bowlers. Clint Auret of Laois was the pick of the bowlers with 1 wicket for only 11 runs off 8 overs.
Brother Matthew Auret took 4 wickets for 34 off 5 overs and Amer Khan, 1 wicket for 23 runs off 8 overs. Laois had there opponents on the incredible score of 28 runs off 20 overs in this 40 over match when Knockharley’s S.Hughes and E.Craig came together and put on 82 leaving Laois chasing 131.
After loosing John Ozenbrook, Ramazan and Rashid for only 11 runs it fell to the young players to save the day. Matthew Auret scored 50 and Clint Auret 36 with useful contributions from Amer Khan and Ben Hur. Laois finally won by 5 wickets with Matthew Auret getting Man of the Match.
In the Dick O’Neill Cup, Adrian Tudor led his very young team up against an experienced Bagnalstown side. Batting first, Laois put on 147 with Prachant Bhand top scoring with 33 and Jaz Singh putting on 27. After a brisk start the Laois bowlers had Bagnalstown 3 down for 3 runs, which included a direct hit run out for Jaz Singh.
With 2 wickets for Tariq Islam and 2 for skipper Adrian Tudor, Bagnalstown were always chasing the total and with further tight bowling from Muhammad Asgar and Sahab Uddin they fell 14 short of the total off 40 overs.
This is the second year running Adrian has led the team to victory in this competition and it was great to see such a young team winning the final, it augers well for the future of Laois cricket.
In a separate presentation on the day Laois under 15 David Murphy was awarded The Midlands and Southeast Youth Player of the Year for his achievements with the Leinster under 15 team.
David played in the Interprovincial series in Northern Ireland and toured in the UK with the Leinster team.