The Munster Cricket Minor Cup is now residing in the picturesque Oyster Oval, as County Kerry strolled to a comfortable 96 run victory over UCC in Tralee on Saturday afternoon.
The Kingdom side made home advantage count, skittling out their Cork opponents for a paltry 61, chasing a very attainable 156. With a lot of rain down in Spa over the last few days the hosts began slowly, with Sathiandran and Abdul Razzaq keeping it tight, and Kerry going at just over two an over for the first 10 turns.
The Students moreover were making inroads, Razzaq had Jonathan Boulding and spinner Kevin O’Sullivan taking Junad Khalid as the Students got off to a good start. Captain Shahrukh Nawaz dropped Bilal Alam however early on, and it would prove costly as he would prove to be the main dangerman of the innings.
With both openers gone from the bowling attack Kerry began to make inroads, with Ahmad and Nikil both erratic, giving away too many extras and a a few boundaries as the hosts began to pile on the pressure, passing 70 before drinks with only two wickets gone. After the break UCC reshaped up, with Khashif taking the key wicket of Alam for 41 and Kerry losing a few quick batsman as the tides began to change.
Kerry’s tail wagged a bit, with some big boundaries, notably Seán Rutland’s smashed six over long-off, but good field placings kept the Kingdom side to 156. Razzaq was the pick of the UCC bowlers, taking 3-19 while O’Sullivan had 3-35 to finish.
UCC’s innings began disasterously, losing openers Galvin and Nawaz early, followed by Rohit Dharmane as Kaleem Ahmad and O’Sullivan desperately tried to keep UCC in the game.
Having seen off a few overs it seemed that the pair had gotten over the hump, and perhaps the game was still alive, but when Ahmad got out playing a bad shot to Morad Shah it seemed more and more unlikely. O’Sullivan, who has been instrumental with the bat to the Corkonian’s side’s success this season, was caught and bowled by Richard Rutland for 19, and the game was virtually over.
The Students’ last five wickets fell for just 13 runs, as Kerry strolled to what was a more than comfortable victory, and their second Minor Cup in three years, following a success over Limerick in the 2014 edition.
These two teams are still contesting the Second Division, along with Midleton, and UCC will be looking to extract some revenge later on in the season. They still have the Cork T20 Cup final to look forward to against either Midleton or the Cork County Crusaders, on Monday the 5th August.
Munster Cricket Chairman David Griffin thanked both teams for an excellent final, and last Saturday's game will hopefully be the first of many to take place at the Oyster Oval over the coming years.
2016 Minor Cup Final
County Kerry 154 all out (O'Sullivan 3-18, Razzaq 3-23) beat UCC 61 all out (O'Sullivan 20) by 93 runs at the Oyster Oval.