Ian Callender on Saturday's NCU results
Ian Callender - Sunday Life
Civil Service North remain the team to beat in the Lagan Valley Steels T20 Cup as they added the scalp of previously unbeaten Carrickfergus in the top of the table clash at Middle Road.
At times the group leaders were toying with the home side as they sent out Chris McMorran to open the batting in pursuit of their modest victory target of 121 and then Paddy Beverland at No 3 while keeping leading run-scorer Luke Georgeson and Stuart Thompson in the hutch.
The new Northern Knights all-rounder and the Ireland international were needed in the end but only to score the last few runs as CSN romped to a seven wickets victory with 14 balls to spare.
Georgeson, who had passed 50 in his three previous innings as opener, upped his average with 24 not out from just 14 balls (one four, two sixes) after the dismissal of Ross Adair for 42 from 35 balls.
Graeme McCarter, who is widely expected to be named in the Ireland squad for next week’s World Cup Super League matches against Netherlands had figures of 1-26 from his four overs with only Jacques Snyman (1-9) and Ryan Eagleson (1-20) keeping CSN below their required run-rate.
The game was effectively won in the first half of the Carrick innings when they were reduced to 47 for six with new signing Ben Mackey claiming three wickets, although the crucial wicket was that of professional Synman, run out for 19 after being sent back by CJ van der Walt.
Michael Armstrong and the evergreen Eagleson doubled the score for the seventh wicket but Georgeson ended it with the first ball of his second spell.
CSN, who were also without skipper Gary Wilson, on Ireland selection duties yesterday, are now the only unbeaten team as North Down also lost their record yesterday, going down by five runs to CIYMS at Belmont.
Big hitting from Ryan Haire, who hit three sixes in his 25, got them close but he gave a return catch to Graham Kennedy in the last over and CI moved into second place in the table. Paul Stirling was dismissed by international team-mate Mark Adair’s first ball for five.
Waringstown and Lisburn still have a chance of breaking into the top four after exciting wins over Woodvale and Instonians respectively.
James Hall hit his first 50 for Woodvale against his former team-mates but his ex-captain, Greg Thompson, hit a six and a four in the last over as Waringstown won with two balls to spare.
Lisburn needed the fifth ball of the last over to beat Instonians by two wickets with Boyd Rankin, who has announced his retirement from international and representative cricket, tying the scores with a straight six and then winning it next ball with a four.