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Shields’ efforts in vain as North Down settle for third

By Ian Callender

North Down failed in their bid to join Waringstown and CIYMS at the top of the Gardiner Bros Premier League table after losing their final match to Instonians.

The Comber side will still finish third — a significant improvement on last season’s seventh-place finish — but after winning five of their first six games, they could win only four of their remaining eight.

Yesterday’s game was a 20 overs second and final attempt and it was North Down’s T20 captain Ally Shields who played the innings of the game, in defeat. He scored 87 from just 38 balls with 11 fours and four sixes.

He was out in only the 12th over with the total on 117 but after his departure Instonians restricted the home side to 63 in the last eight overs.

Oliver Metcalfe, the club’s Under-15 captain, gave Instonians the perfect start to their reply with 31 from just 15 balls (five fours and a six) and his experienced team-mates took their side home with six wickets and seven balls to spare, Andrew White finishing 29 not out from 20 balls.

It was a second win of the weekend for Instonians, after an eight-wicket victory over Lisburn condemned the Wallace Park side to Section One cricket next season.

Right to the end, Lisburn’s batting let them down, bowled out for 70 in 25 overs — their third total under 80 this season — with Robert McKinley taking four wickets for nine runs in six overs. Shane Getkate, who took the final wicket with his second ball, also finished the Instonians reply in a hurry with 30 off 17 balls (three fours and two sixes).

After a season to forget, the defending champions can still end the season in fourth place with a fourth successive win, at Muckamore on Saturday.

In the North West, Donemana are back at the top of the Long’s SuperValu Premiership after a nine-wicket victory at Drummond, who have also lost a run of matches and will play in the Championship next season.

North West Warriors skipper Andy McBrine took five for 16 and Jordan McGonigle claimed a hat-trick as Drummond were bowled out for 63 and Donemana knocked off the runs in 11.2 overs. It sends them into next week’s game at Fox Lodge knowing if they avoid defeat they will complete the Premiership and Senior Cup double for the second successive year.

Decker Curry was 83 not out — his best score of the season —when Ardmore completed a five-wicket win over Eglinton and it means if they beat Drummond on Saturday and Fox Lodge lose, then the Foxes will face a play-off against Ballyspallen to stay in the Premiership.

Unless Ardmore need a play-off, Curry will have just two more games to get that elusive 100th career century. They hope their final game is against Fox Lodge on Sunday,

Gardiner Bros Premier League

The Green: North Down 180 (20 overs, A Shields 87, H Coulter 34; B Rose 3-27, R McKinley 2-15, S Bunting 2-27, A White 2-46) Instonians 181-4 (18.5 overs, S Getkate 47, J Shannon 36, O Metcalfe 31, A White 29 not out, Nik Smith 26; P Davison 2-29). Instonians won by six wickets

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