Cricket: Downpatrick in run-rate battle to stay in top tier
Downpatrick have one match to preserve their top flight status and if they’d hand-picked their final game of the season, it could not have worked out any better.
Paul Tate’s side go to Lurgan tomorrow, the team without a league win all summer and already certain to be playing in Section One of the Ulster Bank League again next season.
The Strangford Road side go into the match four points behind Ballymena and Carrickfergus so a victory will only draw them level, leaving the second relegation place to be decided by run-rate.
This is where Downpatrick’s task becomes just that little bit harder. With the worst run-rate of the three teams, they must not only beat Lurgan, but must either do it quickly or convincingly.
Batting first, they would need a victory margin of around 82 runs, or if they are to chase, would need to win by the 23rd over.
They got good practice last Saturday against Instonians, winning by nine wickets, in a rain-reduced game.
That helped take the battle into the last Saturday of the season, but of their previous four victories this season, the quickest — and they have all come batting second — was in the 31st over against Carrickfergus. In their home win over Lurgan it took them 41 overs to score just 136.
If Downpatrick win by enough, Ballymena will be relegated.
Meanwhile, the fight to gain a place in Senior One of the Henderson Properties North West League will go to a play-off if Ardmore and Bonds Glen both win — or lose — their final games tomorrow.
Locked together at the top of Senior Two, Ardmore are away to The Nedd while the Bee Gees visit Drummond.