Ian Callender's NCU weekend review
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
The CIYMS bandwagon rolls on – and shows no sign of slowing down. Victory by seven wickets over Waringstown in the Big Two clash at Belmont yesterday was their fifth in the Premier League this year and a remarkable 18th without defeat since the opening day of last season.
As if to prove that their powerful batting order is totally flexible, Jacob Mulder was promoted to No 3 yesterday and the Ireland international finished 59 not out as CI coasted to their modest 149 target with more than eight overs to spare.
For Waringstown, it was a second hammer blow in successive days after the holders lost at home to Instonians in the Challenge Cup on Saturday. They will be disappointed by their fielding efforts yesterday, with John Matchett dropped twice in successive overs and, more importantly, Nigel Jones missed at the wicket when only four.
The captain went on to make 25 but even his exit in the 18th over, caught at long-on off Greg Thompson’s second ball, only let in Obus Pienaar and the South African professional kept Mulder company in a unbroken stand of 70, this time without the sniff of a chance.
Mulder strode to the wicket in the sixth over after Chris Dougherty was caught behind for three, 108 less than he scored in Saturday’s Cup success. But the most successful teams do not rely on one batsmen and in this CI team, the next batsman is ready to take up the mantle.
Much like the bowling attack, where Jones is spoilt for choice – and Mark Adair was absent yesterday.
Allen Coulter, as he has done so often, made the early breakthrough, dismissing Adam Dennison and James Hall in his first four overs and with James McCollum, like Adair, missing on Ireland duty, Waringstown were in early trouble.
Lee Nelson provided the backbone to the innings with 44 from 100 balls, hitting just four boundaries, but the highest stand was 37 for the fifth wicket with Habib Azam who hit three fours and a six in his 23, the Pakistani’s highest score of the season.
James Cameron-Dow and Obus Pienaar equally shared six of the wickets and Jones was still able to call on Trevor Britton in the 34th of the 40 overs – the game reduced by a delayed start – and his fourth spinner finished the innings with two wickets.
The euphoria of Instonians’ cup success failed to last 24 hours as they were bowled out for 141 and a 26 runs defeat by Civil Service North.
Andrew White, who missed Saturday’s cup tie, and James Shannon, in his first innings on his return to Shaw’s Bridge, should have strengthened the side but both were out in the space of 10 balls in an Instonians collapse which saw them go from 63-1 to 67-5.
As they were chasing a revised target of 169, it was virtually mission impossible and only Robert McKinley could make any significant inroads as Matthew Foster finished with four wickets.
Gary Wilson captained CSN yesterday on the eve of Ireland’s first one-day international against Zimbabwe and finished second top scorer, behind Mark Ellison with 28 as the visitors finished on 164-8 in their 39 overs.
In yesterday’s other Premier League game, Muckamore picked up their first win of the season – to leave Instonians rock bottom – with a two wickets success over Carrickfergus, skipper Neil Gill hitting the winning runs with eight balls to spare.
North Down are up to joint second, four points behind CI, after their seven wickets win over Lisburn at Wallace Park on Saturday.
Ryan Eagleson missed Carrickfergus’ Challenge Cup tie on Saturday as he was assistant coach with the Ireland Wolves at Eglinton. When he heard that his club team-mates had scored 219-6 in their 40 overs, he predicted that if “we get Chris Dougherty early, we will win that!”
Dougherty was dropped in the first over, and missed four more times as he scored 111 not out and CIYMS reached their target with two overs and seven wickets to spare.
At The Lawn, Nicolai Smith (94) and Murray Commins (84) put on 152 for the second wicket but Instonians collapsed from 188-1 to finish on 242-8 after 43 overs, but that was still too many for Waringstown. James Hall scored his first half century of the season in reply but the holders never threatened and they fell 37 runs short, bowled out in the 39th over.
It will be an all-Premier League line-up in the last four with Civil Service North easing past Cregagh by six wickets and Muckamore bowling out Templepatrick for 99 and a 72 runs success.
The semi-finals will be played on Saturday July 20, coincidently when the four teams were all due to play in separate league games so the entire scheduled league programme for that day will be rearranged.