Carrick and Derriaghy batsmen hit underdogs to opening day victories
So much for tricky opening day conditions and a predictable Ulster Bank Premier League. On the day when last year's top four were supposed to lay down a marker for the new season, Carrickfergus and, gloriously, newly promoted Derriaghy were the shock-troopers as the batsmen blasted two centuries and no fewer than 11 fifties.
Jamie Holmes, who gets a chance to show his quality for the Northern Knights in today's inter-provincial cup match against Leinster Lightning at Stormont (10.45am), was the day's top scorer with 118 not out in Carrick's crushing eight-wicket win over North Down, last year's runners-up.
He hit 12 fours and 3 sixes from 117 balls but it was his partner at the end who made an instant impression. New professional Pat Botha had already taken three wickets in the visitors' 247 for five and when he arrived in the middle, second wicket down, with his side needing 101 he scored 62 from just 42 balls as Carrick romped home with 10 overs to spare.
The last but one time Derriaghy were in the top section, they failed to win any of their 18 games. They are off the mark immediately this season with a 23-run win over CIYMS at Queensway as they showed anything is possible from a slow but solid start. After 10 overs they were 11-0 but totalled 212 for six and then reduced CI to 96 for six. From that position, there is usually only one winner and despite a defiant 67 by Johnny Thompson, it was the favourites.
Andrew White was the other century-maker, finishing 104 not out in Instonians' eight wickets win over Civil Service North. Ireland's second most-capped player may have retired from both the Knights and the international scene but that is his club's gain and he outscored James Shannon almost three to one in a third wicket stand of 141. Australian Nathan Smith also backed up his impressive stats with three wickets on debut.
Ominously for the rest, though, champions Waringstown also started with a win, defending 266 in Wallace Park by 44 runs with their new South African pro Cobus Pienaar taking five for 31 after hitting three sixes in his 48 from 38 balls.
Premier League results: At The Green, Carrickfergus beat North Down by 8 wickets: North Down 247-5 (J Mulder 65, R Ewing 53, P Malan 52, A Shields 50 not out; P Botha 3-49, R Eagleson 2-32) Carrickfergus 252-2 (40 overs, J Holmes 118 not out, P Botha 62 not out, I Parkhill 29)
At Queensway, Derriaghy beat CIYMS by 23 runs: Derriaghy 212-6 (C Lewis 56 not out, A Jamison 47, K Aphale 42, R Cummins 23; Z Rushe 4-57) CIYMS 189 (J Thompson 67; C Lewis 2-28, P Bell 2-36, K Aphale 2-40)
At Stormont Instonians beat Civil Service North by 8 wickets: Civil Service North 193-9 (44.4 overs, M Amjad 61, D Agnew 43, J Costain 26 not out; Na Smith 3-38, J Magee 2-23) Instonians 197-2 (A White 104 not out, J Shannon 34 not out)
At Wallace Park, Waringstown beat Lisburn by 44 runs: Waringstown 266-7 (G Thompson 58, J McCollum 52, C Pienaar 48, A Dennison 34; R McConkey 3-40) Lisburn 222 (48.3 overs, R Rankin 79, C Chetty 46, S Lazars 44; C Pienaar 5-31, P Eaglestone 3-39).