Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Shields is sure that Down cricketers are on the up

It is not just the other three TCH Challenge Cup semi-finalists this weekend who should take heed of Peter Shields warning that “North Down have more in the tank.”

After a hesitant start to the defence of their Premier League title, the champions are hitting their straps and back-to-back wins last weekend against early pacesetters Lisburn and Waringstown not only took them joint top of the table, but have set them up for a return trip to The Lawn tomorrow for one of two attractive semi finals.

After what the North Down skipper described as an “excellent weekend” Shields warned his rivals there was more to come from the Comber side and not just because Ireland international bowler Peter Connell is back in town for the semi final.

“PC will boost our bowling attack. We missed him against Merrion (when they crashed out of the Irish Cup last month) as he leads the line,” said Shields.

The other semi is at Shaw’s Bridge between Instonians and Lisburn, with Instonians having won their last seven league and Challenge Cup games.

All four cup semi-finalists are back in league action on Sunday and if Instonians and Waringstown have their wish, it could be a dress rehearsal for the August 14 final, when they meet at Shaw’s Bridge.

Meanwhile, there will be a curious interest in the Section One game at Mallusk tomorrow between Cliftonville and Cooke Collegians.

It will be Cliftonville’s first game since they were bowled out, on Tuesday, for 10 in what was believed to be one of the lowest ever scores in senior cricket. It is not THE lowest, however. Back in 1970, Milford were bowled out for SIX in a Section Two game against CIYMS. Thanks to Brian Stirling for the recollection.

Weekend fixtures (12.00): Tomorrow: TCH Challenge Cup semi finals: Instonians v Lisburn, Waringstown v North Down.

Ulster Bank Premier League: Bangor v Ballymena, CIYMS v Carrickfergus, Civil Service North v Woodvale.

Sunday: Instonians v Waringstown, Lisburn v Woodvale, North Down v Civil Service North.

Section One: Cliftonville v Cooke Collegians, Derriaghy v Dunmurry, Holywood v Downpatrick, Lurgan v Dundrum, Muckamore v Laurelvale.

Sunday: Downpatrick v Derriaghy.

Section Two: Donacloney v BISC, Larne v Drumaness, Saintfield v Cregagh. Sunday: Cregagh v Saintfield.

Goldblatt McGuigan Junior Cup semi final (1.00): Portadown v Academy.

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