INSTONIANS were the most relieved team in the Gardiner Bros Premier League at the weekend as both Lisburn and Civil Service North failed to take advantage of their idleness.

Next week’s Irish Cup semi-finalists find themselves in the bottom three, but after their home game against Carrickfergus was abandoned by the effects of the week’s rain, Lisburn threw away a wonderful chance to join Instonians on 12 points, while CSN’s batting also let them down at CIYMS.

An impressive bowling performance by CSN restricted the new Challenge Cup holders to 205 for eight with Ben Adair finishing with 4-43 and Mansoor Amjad bowling his 10 overs for just 20 runs including the wicket of top scorer Chris Dougherty for 60.

But not for the first time, the CI batting imploded with only Matt McGillivray ensuring they faced all 50 overs with an unbeaten 59.

Their total proved to be more than enough, however, as the CSN innings never got going with Andrew Cowden and Mansoor Amjad adding 31 in 13 overs and when they were both dismissed, to leave the visitors on 65 for four they were already into the 27th over. Jacob Mulder (3-26) and McGillivray (2-26) finished the job for CI to move them into joint third place, one win behind North Down and two off the lead.

Waringstown are still out in front after a comfortable five wickets win over Muckamore who were bowled out for 123 inside 40 overs. James Magowan (53) was the only batsman to hold up the Villagers before Shaheen Khan and Gary Kidd each finished with three wickets.

Adam Dennison, James Hall and Lee Nelson were all for single figure scores but Shaheen (44), James McCollum (37) and Greg Thompson 24 not out ensured the victory.

North Down needed all their experience and a lot of help from the Lisburn batsmen to avoid a potentially damaging defeat at The Green.

The basement side were coasting towards their victory target of 211 during an opening stand of 112 between Robert Rankin (69) and professional Gionne Koopman (40) but both were dismissed in the space of six balls and after that it turned into a desperate struggle.

While former international Neil Doak was in the middle, Lisburn were still winning it, but he was on the wrong end of a close run-out – he obviously thought he had made it – and the visitors then lost another five wickets for 16 runs to leave them eight runs short.