A DAY of high drama and even higher emotion signalled the end of the regular North West cricket season as Strabane only just managed to overcome dogged Ardmore at the Bleachgreen on Sunday to claim a third senior championship in the past six years.
It was hard work, but by their own admission pretty much everything has been hard work this season and quite a bit of it has been their own doing.
All of that counted for nothing however the moment that Ryan Patton sent the penultimate ball of the 50th over crashing into Gerard Brolly’s stumps to confirm that the title was heading for the Park.
Unbridled joy ensued from players and supporters alike and in that split second the pressure valve was released after a five-month battle with Brigade for the region’s biggest prize.
The emotion got the better of a few and although he looked calmer than most, one man was responsible for that.
Mark Gillespie had made it perfectly clear that win, lose or draw, this would be his last game in senior cricket.
Few players have epitomised the Red Caps more than “Gilly” and typical of him it was his innings of 65, a superb knock in seriously testing batting conditions, that gave the new champions something to defend.
And defend it they did, but only just.
FULL REPORT AND REACTION IN THURSDAY’S STRABANE CHRONICLE