Paul Stirling scored his second century of the season to take North Down to the top of the table after an eight-wicket win away at Instonians.

The Irish international was at his destructive best, hitting 9 sixes and 8 fours in a brutal 109 from just 88 balls as the Comber side made light of their 237 run target.

Stirling has forged an opening partnership with Ani Chore which is the envy of many clubs, and it is a shame that Stirling's imminent departure will deprive spectators in the NCU of his talent.

Chore was second fiddle - but only just - in an opening stand of 20, in which the Indian stroked 13 fours and a six in his 90 from 100 balls.

Neil Brand (24*) was also in the runs as the 237 target was passed in the 37th over, with James Rose (2-69) the only successful bowler in the beleaguered attack.

Earlier Nikolai Smith (72) and Robert McKinley (61*) scored half centuries, with Jame Metcalfe chipping in with 32.

Stirling - who else? - took two wickets as did Neil Brand in a day when batsmen were on top.

North Down sit proudly at the Premier summit on NRR ahead of Lisburn, but it's early days in the race for the title.

At Shaws Bridge, Instonians (0) lost to North Down by 8 wickets
236/8 (50 overs, N Smith 72, R McKinley 61*, J Metcalfe 32; P Stirling 32, N Brand 2-48)
North Down 237/2 (36.2 overs, P Stirling 109, A Chore 90, N Brand 24*; J Rose 2-69)