Johnny Morton (News Letter)
CIYMS stayed within touching distance of Premier League leaders Waringstown with a dominant seven-wicket win over Armagh at The Mall on Saturday.
Winning the toss and bowling on a green wicket with the dark clouds threatening to open overhead, CIYMS captain Nigel Jones stuck Armagh into bat and was rewarded for that decision almost immediately as Jamie Rogers was caught at deep mid-wicket by Ryan Hunter off the bowling of Jones.
After a short rain break, play resumed and disaster struck for the home side as confusion in the middle between Neil Gelston and Shadley van Schalkwyk led to the South African professional run out for nought, leaving Armagh in serious difficulty at 14-2.
Jones continued to bowl with great accuracy and consistency, picking up the wickets of Andrew Hoey (9) and Colin Russell (0) - both well caught in the slips, before getting the big scalp of Gelston, who had made his way to 23 before he was trapped LBW.
Spinner James Cameron Dow was then introduced to the attack and causing the Armagh batsmen all sorts of problems, turning the ball past the edge of the bat with regularity. When he bowled Harry Boyd for seven and had Sammy Wilson caught by Jones in the slips for 11, Armagh were sitting 59-7 and it didnít look like they would even reach the 100 mark.
Harry Doyle and Michael Hoey produced some late-order hitting, with Doyle hitting three boundaries before being dismissed by Trevor Britton, and Hoey smashing a six and a four before he was bowled for 15 trying to add quick runs.
Matthew Wright got Armagh to 100 with a sweet four off James Cameron Dow, but the bowler would have the last laugh as he was stumped by Chris Dougherty with the very next ball as CIYMS bowled their counterparts out for 100.
Requiring 101 to win, the Belfast side started in quick fashion, making their way to 31 in the fourth over before van Schalkwyk made a breakthrough as John Matchett was caught by Doyle.
Van Schalkwyk was bowling with great pace and seemed to be troubling the batters on what was a bowler-friendly wicket and picked up his second of the match when Dougherty, who was dropped in the previous over, was well caught by wicketkeeper Gareth McCarter with the score at 42-2.
Jones had walked to the crease by this stage and kicked his innings off with a six into the trees, and carried on in that aggressive fashion for the entirety of his stay at the crease, hitting a further two sixes and three fours before he was caught behind off the bowling of Doyle for 38 from 27 balls.
It was left to Matt McGillivray and Ryan Hunter to see their side home to victory, with McGillivray ending the match by smashing a six to finish 26 not out from 22 balls and Hunter ending 3 not out.
It is the latest in a series of dominant performances from the Belmont side, who are going to be serious challengers for the title this year and now sit four points behind Waringstown with a game in hand.
Armagh now face a massive game against CSNI on The Mall next weekend, with both teams sitting towards the bottom of the table. They have to find a way of posting competitive totals as their bowling attack with the likes of van Schalkwyk, Doyle and Gelston will cause teams problems.