Hills draw is music to North Down ears
Maybe this really is North Down's year to win the RSA Irish Senior Cup. The NCU side's reward for their sensational run-chase at Coleraine on Sunday was the kindest semi-final draw possible.
Not only did they receive the home game they craved but their opponents are The Hills, the weakest of the three Leinster teams left in the competition they have dominated this millennium.
The Skerries side may be the defending league champions, but both Clontarf, the Irish Cup holders and Pembroke, who will meet at Sydney Parade, are well ahead of them in the table this season.
It really is a case of now or never for North Down, who scored 307 for five to reach their first semi-final since 2000, and are now one match away from their first final since their last success, in 1995.
And the Comber side were at it again last night as Danny Graham and James Cameron-Dow scored 51 off the last five overs to beat Waringstown by three wickets with two balls to spare in the semi-final of the Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 Cup.
In the July 18 final they will play Civil Service North, who had just three balls to spare in their semi against Instonians.
There was no such luck for NCU teams in the National Cup with both Woodvale and Carrickfergus drawn away in the semi-finals to Killyclooney and south Dublin side, Dundrum respectively.
Meanwhile, the North West Warriors took nine Leinster Lightning wickets for 190 before tea on the first day of the Newstalk Inter-provincial championship game at Malahide but, remarkably, the league leaders were still batting at the close.
Max Sorensen and Albert van der Merwe have so far put on 109 for the last wicket and resume this morning hoping to pile on the agony.
Craig Young was the most successful Warriors bowler, yet the most expensive. He did get the big wicket of in-form Andrew Poynter for 10, but he was helped by loose shots from both Bill Coghlan and Simmi Singh.
The unluckiest bowler was debutant Jarred Barnes, who did everything but take a wicket. Nine of his first 14 overs were maidens – there was a total of 32 in the day.
Scores - Inter-provincial: At Malahide, Leinster Lightning 1st Innings 299-9 (105 overs, M Sorensen 68, B Coghlan 61, A van der Merwe 49, C McLoughlin 30; C Young 4-74, S Thompson 2-45, E Kemm 2-56) v North West Warriors. Today 11am-6.30pm
Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 Cup: At Stormont, Instonians 141-8 (J Shannon 53 not out, E Layard 24, A White 24; G Nieuwoudt 2-18, C Andrews 2-32) Civil Service North 145-5 (19.3 overs, G Nieuwoudt 71 not out; I Wasim 2-17). Civil Service North won by 5 wickets.
At The Lawn, Waringstown 133 (S Khan 55, L Nelson 24; P Eakin 4-18, J Cameron-Dow 3-15) North Down 137-4 (D Graham 48 not out; G Kidd 3-12). North Down won by 3 wickets.