Waringstown’s new South African professional, Obus Piennaar, continues to hog the headlines at the start of the NCU season and yesterday he set a new standard only he is likely to beat.
Pienaar broke the NCU’s individual scoring record — certainly in limited overs cricket — with an astonishing display of hitting as he crashed 244 runs in Waringstown’s 392 for six against hapless CIYMS at The Lawn.
The 21-year-old batted for only 35 of his team’s 50 overs, hitting 22 sixes and 13 fours, with his double century coming up in only 96 balls. He was actually dismissed with three overs remaining, caught on the deep mid-wicket boundary from his 114th delivery.
He came to the middle with Waringstown in a spot of bother at 27 for three but 31 balls later he had brought up his 50 and by the time he reached his 100 in 59 — still nine balls slower than Kevin O’Brien’s World Cup innings against England — it was panic over and the only question was how many would he end up with.
The personal 150 for Pienaar came up in 78 balls and his fourth 50 in just 18 deliveries more as the ball flew out of the ground at regular intervals.
At the other end, Lee Nelson, just as he did at Carrickfergus on Saturday when Pienaar opened his Waringstown career with a modest 73 not out from 45 balls, was happy to rotate the strike but still accumulated 84 in a fourth wicket stand of 303.
As if a total of 374 was not enough pain for CI, who did well to maintain their bowling discipline, the umpires, somewhat cruelly, ruled they were three overs short of bowling their overs within the three hour five minute time limit, so 18 penalty runs were added to the Waringstown total.
Not that it mattered. It only racked up the margin of their defeat and even CI professional Rizwan Ahmed, who scored an undefeated 147 on Saturday, did not try to compete with Pienaar, out for 34, and this time the demoralised visitors’ total was one short of the snooker break maximum. The next bowling attack to try and tame Pienaar will be Instonians on Saturday and they must bounce back from an agonising defeat to Lisburn at Wallace Park yesterday.
With two overs and two wickets left, Instonians needed just three runs to make it two wins out of two but Hennie van der Merwe, one of Lisburn’s South Africans had Jordan Morrow caught for 61 and the next ball trapped Sam Shannon leg before wicket to claim an unexpected victory.
Van der Merwe was also the top Lisburn scorer in their total of 213 for nine but when Ireland international Andrew White and Morrow were adding 84 for the sixth wicket, it did not look enough. Neil Hamilton joined Morrow to add 29 for the seventh and with four wickets left Instonians needed only 11 to win. Then the wheels came off.
Joining Lisburn and Waringstown at the top of the table after two matches are Ballymena, who followed up their opening day win against Civil Service North with a comfortable 54 runs victory against Bangor.
David Kennedy was run out for 82, including 13 fours and a six, as Ballymena totalled 230 for eight and Kaushik Aphale and captain Simon McDowell then shared nine of the Bangor wickets.
Civil Service North got off the mark in style, passing Carrickfergus’s 162 in less than 30 overs for the loss of just one wicket. New Kiwi professional Mark Ellison hit 10 fours and three sixes and won the match with the runs which also brought up his century.
Champions North Down also got off the mark after their opening day defeat to Lisburn as they bowled out Muckamore for just 74. On a turning pitch, it was not a surprise that Marty Moreland took four for 20.
The first round draw for the Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup has been finalised. Muckamore will travel to Leinster, Lisburn will host Pembroke and Donemana face Rush. The first round games are on Saturday May 14.