North Down may have missed out on three trophies this year but they clinched the “big one” on Saturday, their 189-run defeat of CIYMS giving them the Ulster Bank Premier League for the ninth time in 13 years.
Peter Shields has been captain for eight of them and he believes the appetite is there for them to complete a hat-trick of titles next year.
“The older guys are still hungry for success and this year we brought four youngsters into team. They are the future of the club,” said Shields. “We missed out on all the cups this year so we have plenty to target next year.”
Peter Eakin, at 16 the youngest of the youngsters, was given the new ball at Belmont but it was old hands Ryan Haire (6-10) and Marty Moreland (4-29) who bowled out North Down for 82.
Before Saturday, Neil Russell was the only player in North Down’s top six who had not scored a century this season but he put that right with 103 from 99 balls. They seem sure to be the team to beat again in 2012.
Limavady’s hopes of forcing a play-off in the Henderson Properties Senior League are in the lap of the gods after their final match of the regular season was cut off three overs into their reply.
Bready scored 198 for six in their 45 overs yesterday — Steven Clarke top scoring with 60 — but Limavady could only reach 17 for no wicket before rain ended any hope of a resumption. Play resumes tonight at 6pm with tomorrow night available to finish the match.
A Limavady win will set up a play-off for the title with Brigade at Eglinton on Sunday but defeat or — surely not — a no-result would send the trophy to Beechgrove who finished their season on Saturday with an easy five wickets win over an under-strength Donemana.
There was another twist in the relegation battle yesterday. After Eglinton’s eight-wicket win over Fox Lodge on Saturday, which drew them level with Bonds Glen, the Bee Gees responded with a stunning 95 run-win in their 20 overs match against outgoing champions Strabane, bowled out for 91. Professional Gihan Dilruk hit 80 and then took five wickets for 12 runs.