Johnny Morton (News Letter)
North Down travel to Premier League leaders CIYMS on the back of hitting 352 against Instonians last weekend - the highest score involving an NCU team this season.
Opener Daniel Graham struck 126 not out, with Ruhan Pretorious making 124 and Alistair Shields 75.
Having lost their two games prior, captain Marty Moreland says it was good to get a win in such emphatic fashion. “
It was a great performance,” he said. “We had a few bad results, and Instonians were obviously missing a few but that doesn’t matter because you still have to get the runs and take the wickets.”
Pretorious now has over 500 runs for the season in all formats, and has been one of the most prolific wicket takers in the Union in 2018.
Moreland says the South African professional is the main man for his side.
“Ruhan is our main player,” he added, “If he does well, then we generally do well.
“For as long as I’ve been playing, people always say professionals are here for the money, but that isn’t Ruhan at all.
“He gives you 100 per cent on the pitch and cares about what goes on at the club.
“He is a big, big player for us with bat and ball.”
Shields has also had a fantastic season, playing a part in limited overs cricket for the Northern Knights, and Moreland has witnessed his progression first hand since he broke into the first XI at The Green.
“I’ve played with Alistair since he started in the team,” he said. “He’s always had it and the ability has always been there, and it’s just last season and this season that it’s came out and he is getting the runs to back it up.
“Last week he got 75 off 30-something balls, and Alistair is another big player.”
North Down are the only team to have beaten CIYMS in the Robinson Services Premier League this season, winning by three runs on the opening day of the season.
“We aren’t scared of anybody but we know how good they can be on their day,” added Moreland.
“They are a good team and have good individuals, but we are a good team and we play together, know each other and socialise with each other, and that’s very important.
“We are confident of going up and getting a result.”
Moreland is looking his team to take it one game at a time, and says if they can win the Twenty20 Cup next Sunday against Waringstown at The Lawn alongside a finish towards the top of the league table, they can call it a good season.
“It’s going to be tough to pull the two teams back above us, but we have to play them both and they have to play each other twice,” he said.
“All you can do is win your own games and hope they slip up somewhere.
“If we finish second or third and win the Twenty20, it would be a good season.”