Bunting bowls Inst into decider
Instonians will meet North Down in the final of the O'Neill's Ulster Cup at Comber on Sunday after a one-sided semi-final victory over Eglinton.
The home team were bowled out for just 114, with Stephen Bunting taking four wickets for four runs in 6.3 overs and the NCU side knocked off the runs in 24 overs, an unbeaten second wicket stand of 67 between Farhad Iqbal and James Shannon easing them home.
It was a second disappointment on successive Sundays for Eglinton, who lost the Senior Cup final last week. Again the 'big two' of Ireland international Stuart Thompson (1) and professional Oraine Williams (2) were out early, both victims of Bunting, as they collapsed to 22 for four.
Despite spirited resistance from Richard Wylie, who was run out for 49, the last four wickets fell for just nine runs, with the innings failing to last 36 overs.
Eglinton were further handicapped by Thompson not bowling and, with Williams also wicketless, it was left to Wylie to make the breakthrough. But they just hadn't enough runs and it will be a fifth all-NCU Ulster Cup final.
The Comber side will go into the game with at least a share of the Premier League leadership after they went clear at the top with a magnificent seven wickets victory over CIYMS at Belmont yesterday.
Needing 243 for victory, Peter Eakin hit the fourth ball of the final over for six to win the match with Pieter Malan at the other end, 114 not out.
It was Malan's second wicket partnership of 195 with Andrew Sutherland which proved decisive although CI will claim the turning point was the non-run out of the South African professional on 58.
Johnny Thompson's direct hit appeared to beat Malan's dive but umpire Jareth McCready was in no position to give a decision and he went on to complete his third century of the season.
However, just as crucial to the outcome was the CI 'go-slow' in the last 20 overs of their innings which yielded just 67 runs after the dismissal of Rassie van der Dussen, run out for exactly 100.
In what was his last match before he returns home today, he became the first player to reach 1,000 runs, although he was dropped on 999 (90 in this match).
Not for the first time this season, van der Dussen received superb support from young John Matchett - he actually outscored him in the second wicket stand of 87 - but all that good work was undone by the poor call, which van der Dussen fatally answered and it's North Down who are in pole position going into Saturday's home game with Waringstown.