It was a weekend of heartbreak for Muckamore as they they quite literally came up a yard short in their bid to retain Premier League status.

After Saturday’s disappointment again Waringstown they had two more chances to climb to safety with games on Sunday morning against Instonians and on Sunday afternoon away to Carrickfergus.

The game against Instonians was a ‘winner takes all’ one with premier League status for 2020 the prize, and Muckamore must have been buoyed by the resilience they showed in that chase against Waringstown.

As on Saturday the game was on the ‘mat’ and Inst’s Murray Commins found the short boundary to the tennis courts to his liking as he hit 59 off 32 (4x4, 4x6) in an Instonian total of 150/9.
Skipper Neil Gill was showing the way for the home side taking 4-17 in his four over spell and with Karthik and Lazars each claiming 2 the Instonians total was somewhat less that they would have hoped, and at one time seemed likely.

The Muckamore reply never really got going and with Josh Manley returning 3-11, Andrew White, sixth bowler in the order, claiming 3-19 and Robert McKinley 2-17 the home side were on a tight rein with Steve Lazars (23) top scorer but unable to repeat his half-century of the previous day.

So comfortable in the end, with 35 runs the margin by which Instonians kept their Premier place.

So to Carrickfergus for Muckamore, now drinking in the last chance saloon!
Cloudy, dull, gloomy but thankfully dry were the conditions that greeted them and enabled a prompt start at 4.30.

A third consecutive win at the Toss for Neill Gill and a third insertion seemed the obvious decision.

But the Carrick openers Michael Gilmour and Max Burton had barely reached the crease when the first drops of drizzle started to appear.
Umpires Alan Neill and Phil Thompson had a quick word at the end of the first over but the decision was to stay on.

Max Burton was bowled but that was as good as it got for Muckamore as the rain intensified and with 7/1 on the board the rain drove the players from the field at the end of the second over.

The rain was steady and while localised appeared to be centred on the Middle Road venue.

Inspections during some brief interludes confirmed that the run-ups and surrounds were unfit.
The latest time for the restart of a 5 over-a-side game was calculated as 7.12 and there was hope that an inspection by the umpires at 6.45 would confirm that as a starting time.

The umpires had given every chance for the completion of the game but it was not to be and when the final inspection was made it only confirmed what had been suspected for some time and the captains’ handshake signalled an end to the day and to Muckamore’s Premier League stay.

They finished level on points with Lisburn but with a poorer Nett Run Rate and it was with disbelief that a relieved Lisburn heard how the cards had fallen in their favour over the past two days.


SUNDAY’S PREMIER LEAGUE RESULTS

Morning matches:

North Down lost to CIYMS by 5 runs, The Green, 8 September.
CIYMS 113-5 (20.0 overs, R Hunter 30*, C Dougherty 28, P Eakin 3-18)
North Down 108-7 (20.0 overs, J Mulder 2-13)

Muckamore lost to Instonians by 35 runs , Moylena, 8 September.
Instonians 150-9 (20.0 overs, M Commins 59, Nikolai Smith 27, N Gill 4-17, S Lazars 2-26)
Muckamore 115-9 (20.0 overs, J Manley 3-11, A White 3-19, R McKinley 2-17)

Afternoon matches:
Instonians tied with CIYMS, Shaw’s Bridge, 8 September.
Instonians 192-4 (20.0 overs, S Getkate 108*, M Commins 37, O Metcalfe 28, J van der Merwe 2-27)
CIYMS 192-8 (20.0 overs, J Matchett 72, J van der Merwe 40, J Manley 3-38)

Carrickfergus v Muckamore - no result, Middle Road, 8 September.
Carrickfergus 7/1 (2 overs) Match abandoned.