Luck runs out at Moylena
Alistair Bushe (News Letter)
For a while on Saturday it looked like Moylena would live a charmed life and the Irish Cup tie between Muckamore and Merrion would be finished.
With Civil Service North and St Johnston managing just nine balls at Stormont, Moylena looked to be the only venue in the Northern Cricket Union that would see a match completed.
Not that Muckamore were in with a realistic chance of causing an upset. They had been bowled out for just 118 in 41.1 overs by the Irish Cup runners-up from 2012 and 2013.
The teams will now replay in Dublin in a fortnight's times and in truth that will be a fixture Muckamore could do without as they prioritise staying in the NCU Premier League.
If they are going to fulfil that ambition - and Moylena is a venue that deserves top flight cricket - then they are going to have to bat much better than this.
The conditions were blameless - this wasn't the slow and low pitch that has made life difficult for batting in recent years - and many of the home side's batsmen got starts.
But the failure of anyone to go on and get a big score were characterised by Patrick Fisher, the Australian batsman. The former Civil Service North man was playing fluently, none more so than when taking Tyrone Kane for three successive boundaries, but his dismissal soon after was inexplicable.
With Muckamore recovering on 53 for three, he lifted his head, tried to club one across the line and instead saw his stumps shattered.
Craig Michan, the professional, fought valiantly but frustrated that he never really found the middle of the bat he too threw his wicket away, caught at deep mid-wicket.
It was left to number 10 Gary Nicholl, whose shots during a joint top score of 23 included an immaculate reverse sweep for four, to least enabled Muckamore to post three figures. A last-wicket partnership of 23 dragged them from 95 for nine to 118.
Alas there was no more play as the heavens opened spectacularly.