Waringstown can reap the benefit of Ulster Cup final delay
The O'Neill's Ulster Cup final, postponed from yesterday, will take place on what must now be known as Rearrangement Sunday. The showdown between Bready and Waringstown at Strabane Park has been put back seven days and joins both RSA Irish Cup semi-finals and the last four games in the National Cup in what is now the busiest and biggest day of the local season.
Let's hope for good weather or next time there will be a possible FIVE bowl-outs because all matches must be decided next week.
If the teams had travelled yesterday morning then a bowl-out to decide the Ulster Cup final would have taken place but Strabane confirmed at 9am there was no chance of any play, as the heavy overnight rain continued.
After speaking to both clubs, competition organiser Roger Bell agreed to an unscheduled second match, as had happened eight days earlier when there was no chance of play in the two Cricket Ireland competitions – which were also due to be completed on the day.
Common sense decisions twice in the space of two weekends! What a change of attitude by cricket officials but it must be applauded.
The rearrangements will lead to a further fixture pile-up for the teams because it means next week's first Ulster Bank Premier League meeting of the season between joint champions Instonians and Waringstown, refixed for Sunday, will now need a new date.
Waringstown were certainly the more grateful for yesterday's bad weather, however, because they would have been without Kyle McCallan and probably James McCollum as well, not forgetting Greg Thompson who only returns from honeymoon tomorrow.
The former two were injured in Saturday's league game at Ballymena, McCallan tearing his calf and McCollum splitting the webbing on his left hand.
The league leaders, however, showed their strength in depth to record an impressive five wickets win, chasing 177, despite McCallan's retirement at 55 for three.
David Dawson, with an unbeaten 61, saw Waringstown home with 14 balls to spare.
CIYMS were due to play Civil Service North in a league game yesterday but not a ball was bowled in Northern Ireland so CI professional's Rassie van der Dussen's last innings – he returns to South Africa today – was his 99 not out in Saturday's eight wickets win over Muckamore.
He was just inches away from a century as his attempt to win the match with a six and bring up his 100 fell marginally short. But with Jeremy Bray getting his second unbeaten half-century, CI would appear to have an able replacement for the rest of the season.
Muckamore may still be bottom but at least they topped 200 with an impressive tail-end batting performance after Stevie Dunn ripped out the top four with just 17 runs on the board.
Waringstown's lead is now eight points with five games remaining – only Instonians have a game in hand – and Civil Service North are one of three teams in joint second after their eight wickets win over Lisburn at Wallace Park.
Needing only 144 for victory, it was made for Andrew Cowden who duly scored 36 not out in 44 overs, leaving Jason van der Merwe (77 not out) to dominate the unbeaten stand of 135.
In the North West, only two games were scheduled on Saturday but it took Eglinton out of the drop zone and alongside Bready after they beat the Magheramason side by 64 runs, Ireland all-rounder Stuart Thompson scoring 127.
After the other game, Fox Lodge have still to get off the mark, their ninth defeat coming at home to Donemana for whom another Ireland World Cup hopeful, Andy McBrine, hit 112 not out in an unbeaten partnership of 142 with his dad, Junior.