Waringstown two wins from NCU title
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
WARINGSTOWN could be just two wins away from lifting the Premier League title for the first time since 2017 after completing back to back wins at the weekend.
Having beaten Woodvale by 16 runs at Ballygomartin Road on Saturday, the leaders opened up a 12 points gap on second place North Down with victory over the Comber side at the Lawn on Sunday in their rearranged 20-over game.
It completed a miserable weekend for North Down who were back in action less than 48 hours after losing the Challenge Cup final and now the destination of the league race is out of their hands.
The final margin on Sunday was a comfortable 25 runs after Andre Malan scored the only half century of the game but, crucially, skipper Lee Nelson took 19 off the final over to finish 33 not out from just 15 balls with three fours and two sixes.
It propelled the Villagers to a total of 174 for seven – which was just eight runs fewer than they scored in 50 overs on Saturday – but at halfway Waringstown knew they would probably have to bowl out North Down to secure victory.
The first task was to break the opening partnership of Alistair Shields and Aniruddha Chore and that was completed by the end of the third over, with the prize wicket of Chore for 19, caught by Greg Thompson off Graham Hume.
Shields went on to make 36 from 30 balls but when he was fourth out, caught off Thompson in the 12th over, Carl Robinson was leg before next ball and from a potentially match-winning 92 for three they were firmly second favourites at 92 for five.
Ryan Haire kept it interesting with 48 from just 27 balls, which included four sixes, but his five partners could manage only nine runs between them and Haire was left high and dry when North Down were bowled out with 13 balls unused.
Cup winners CIYMS moved within four points of North Down in the Premier League table with a 36 runs victory over Lisburn at Belmont in Sunday’s other rearranged 20-over game.
John Matchett scored 78 from 50 balls, hitting four fours and seven sixes, in a first wicket stand of 113 in 12 overs with Chris Dougherty and even without skipper Nigel Jones batting CI added 70 in the last eight overs to finish on 183 for five.
Lisburn, rock bottom of the league with just one win from their first nine games, slumped to 44 for six in reply as Graham Kennedy, opening the bowling, resumed where he left off in Friday’s Cup final to take four of the wickets for just 11 runs.
Mark Berry hit 34 off 24 balls and Matt Humphreys then took over to score 52 from 38 but the overs were always against them and CI comfortably saw the job through.