Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

Northern Knights' time to impress cut short by rain

Influential: Andrew Sutherland hit 91 from 100 balls for North Down against Civil Service North
Influential: Andrew Sutherland hit 91 from 100 balls for North Down against Civil Service North

The Northern Knights' hopes of meaningful match preparation before their Newstalk Inter-provincial opener against the North West Warriors next Monday were cut short by yesterday's rain.

Only 39 overs were possible in their game against the Ireland Under-19s at Upritchard Park but at least most of their top order batsmen spent time in the middle as they reached 182 for four.

Skipper Andrew White missed out, but Nick Larkin, who went in after an opening partnership of 49 between Chris Dougherty and Nigel Jones, passed 50 before he was a deserved wicket for CIYMS leg spinner Jacob Mulder. James Shannon and Lee Nelson then added an unbeaten 48 before the rain arrived to wash out the match.

There was a feeling that if the Irish youngsters had batted first there would have been a chance of a second innings but the Knights were not keen to field in the wet conditions.

The Knights selectors met immediately after the game and the team to play the Warriors will be announced tomorrow, but the Leinster Lightning selectors will have been impressed by the bowling of Bobby Gamble, who bowled six economical overs and took the wicket of Nigel Jones, thanks to a good low catch.

The rain also handed Downpatrick their best chance of causing an upset in the Irish Cup with their game against favourites YMCA ended at 30 overs but the Dublin side won the bowl-out 3-0 to set up a big second round game at North West League champions Coleraine.

The Big Three in the Ulster Bank Premier League flexed their muscles on Saturday with emphatic victories. While Instonians were expected to ease past Muckamore – which they did by 76 runs – and even Waringstown over Lisburn, the most impressive performance was by North Down against previously unbeaten Civil Service North.

Andrew Sutherland showed what the Comber side had been missing last season with 91 from 100 balls, with 11 fours and two sixes as North Down scored 173 off the last 20 overs to finish on 280 for eight. In reply, CSN's highest partnership was 52 for the first wicket but they then lost four wickets for 19 runs, two of them to run outs, and the home side cruised home.

Joint league champions Waringstown are still the team to catch, however, and they were, if anything, more impressive in hammering Lisburn by 112 runs at Wallace Park.

Skipper Lee Nelson hit an undefeated 118, from 120 balls with seven fours and six sixes, to follow up James Hall's 70 and Gary Kidd then ripped the heart out of the Lisburn middle-order to finish with four for 33, including home professional Darryl Brown for eight.

Lisburn's only satisfaction on the day was that their former captain, Greg Thompson, managed only 10 runs and failed to get among the wickets.

There is one team keeping tabs with Waringstown after the first three games and that is CIYMS, the 2012 champions, who followed up wins over Lisburn and joint champions Instonians with a thumping nine wickets win over a terribly under-strength Ballymena, who were bowled out for 122 in a painstaking 47 overs.

Five of the six CI bowlers were among the wickets and openers Dougherty and Rassie van der Dussen then knocked off 117 of the runs before victory was clinched in the 23rd over.

With the bottom two, Muckamore and Ballymena, next up for CI and Waringstown respectively – after two weeks of cup action – all roads will lead to Belmont on June 14.

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