Cricket: North Down in pole position in League trophy race
North Down put one hand on the Ulster Bank League trophy yesterday when they beat nearest challengers Waringstown by six wickets at The Lawn.
With home advantage and winning the toss on a glorious afternoon, Waringstown were in pole position at 1pm but less than three hours later they had all but conceded their title with an inept batting performance.
A total of 89 for eight in 20 overs gave their bowlers nothing to bowl at and although they took four wickets for 66, Taimur Khan and Peter Shields eased North Down to the decisive victory with 13 balls to spare.
The invasion of the pitch by their team-mates at the end was more than just a match-winning celebration. They know the championship is now theirs to lose.
The victory opens up a six points gap at the top for the Comber side over Lisburn with the Villagers now trailing by 10 points.
With only one defeat in their first 14 matches, it seems highly unlikely they will lose two of their last four and, indeed their next three games are against teams in the bottom half before their last match at Belmont, against CIYMS who have nothing to play for.
Marty Moreland, introduced into the attack yesterday after a poor first over by Gavin McKenna, made the vital breakthrough in the fifth over, having Kyle McCallan leg before when he missed with a reverse sweep.
When McCallan fails, inevitably so do Waringstown and this was to be no exception with James Hall (29) batting 15 overs for 29 providing the only resistance as wickets were tamely surrendered at the other end.
There were only four boundaries in the whole innings.
In reply Taimur hit four himself, including a glorious straight six off Hall as he finished 25 not out from just 18 balls.
Lurgan’s nine wicket defeat to Ballymena on Saturday condemned them to Section One cricket next season but Instonians kept Civil Service North deep in the battle for the other relegation place when the visitors reached their target of 264 for the loss of seven wickets, Sam Shannon taking a single off the last ball.
Although Rory McCann (110) and James Shannon (72) put on 172 for the second wicket, Instonians still needed 57 from six overs but the match-winning over was the 48th by young Chris McMorran who was hit for 28 (four fours and two sixes) by Eugene Moleon.
That left Instonians needing just five off the last over with six wickets left but Moleon was run out off the first ball, Adam Stewart was run out off the third and Rory Sheard was caught behind off the fourth.
However Shannon junior took two off his first ball to tie the scores and won it at the death.
It was the second disappointment for CSN in successive days as Lisburn’s Yasas Tillakaratne with the help of just a single from Derrick McCann put on 29 for the ninth wicket to win the match.