Johnny Morton (News Letter)
Holywood moved within four points of title rivals Lisburn as they secured a comprehensive 114-run victory over Cregagh on Saturday.
Half-centuries from Nathan Burns (71), Andrew Haire (51no) and Jordan Wilson (56) helped their side post a total of 299 having been put into bat.
Stand-in captain Aaron Johnston would have been ruing his decision to field first as Holywood got off to a flier – finishing the mandatory powerplay on 52-0.
Opening bowler Adam Beattie went for 27 in his opening two overs as the Beverland brothers, Paddy and Charles, made their intentions clear. They brought up their 50 partnership in the ninth over shortly before Charles Beverland fell for 29 off 21 balls.
Despite the minor setback, Holywood were soon back on track as Wilson, alongside Beverland, looked to keep the scoreboard moving. The pair added 36 before Charlie Shannon claimed his maiden wicket of the season, as he had Beverland caught by Leon Moore at short fine-leg for 40.
Wilson made batting look easy as he eased his way to third league fifty of the season. He added 82 runs with ex-North Down batsman Nathan Burns.
Wilson fell for 56 in the 33rd over to leave his side on 175-3. Cregagh were missing their three main spinners for various reasons. This meant that Shannon, Carl Rae and Mark Johnston had to graft hard in their absence.
Shannon bowled for the first time this season and claimed one for 42 off his 10 overs. Andrew Haire hit his 51 not out off 52 balls. He reached the milestone off the last ball of the innings as his side closed on 299 for 5
Cregagh got off to a steady start with Robert Moore and Matthew Simpson putting on 50 together.
Simpson fell for 12 shortly after, and 58-1 became 75-5 as two men fell for single figures before Moore got out for 34.
Leon Moore offered some hope, hitting 52 before retiring hurt. There were starts from batsmen in the lower order but Kyle Walsh and Haire shared the last three wickets as the hosts were all out for 185.
Holywood move up to third place – only behind Lisburn and Downpatrick.
The Seapark outfit travel to Derriaghy next Saturday as they continue to push for promotion. As for Cregagh, they will dust themselves off and go again against league leaders Lisburn.
The Ducks are eight points from safety, but with fixtures against Lurgan and Laurelvale, they’ll be looking to grab two wins to guarantee safety.