FOR the first time since 2010, neither North Down nor Waringstown will be in the NCU T20 Cup final.

Waringstown knew they could not qualify for next Saturday’s semi-finals before their final game group game against CIYMS but North Down blew the chance of keeping their proud record in the competition alive with a three-wicket defeat by Lisburn, giving the Wallace Park side the final place in the semis.

Only skipper Alistair Shields put up any resistance on Saturday, with 52, from 47 balls, but the next best score from their eight batsmen was five! Gavin McKenna and Peter Davison added 24 for the ninth wicket to get them into three figures but 102 for nine was woefully under par.

The Comber side gave themselves a chance when they reduced Lisburn to 34 for four but Chris Burns and an unbeaten 22 from David Simpson all but ensured no further drama. They lost two batsman with the total on 84 – Glenn Halliday retiring with a hamstring problem – but he was always going to bat in an emergency which never arose, Callum Atkinson hitting the winning runs with four balls to spare.

Lisburn will meet Carrickfergus at Middle Road on Saturday with other results ensuring Michael Gilmour’s side retained second place, despite losing to a Shane Getkate-inspired Instonians in their final game.

It completed quite a weekend for the out-of-favour Ireland international who had hit 78 from 35 balls on Friday night against North Down. He was just as quick against Carrick, finishing 94 not out from 41 balls, having hit nine fours and seven sixes in another memorable innings as Instonians, who in the end lost out on a semi-final place only on run-rate, totalled 198 for five.

Carrick, though, put up a huge fight but not through their usual suspect, professional Jacques Snyman, who scored his second century of the season against CIYMS on Friday night. This time it was loan signing Neil Rock, playing only his second game, who got even closer to his century than Getkate, dismissed to the third ball of the last over for 96.

The Ireland Wolves batsman/wicket-keeper faced just 52 balls and hit six fours and seven sixes as Carrick finished an agonising eight runs short.
The other semi-final will be at Stormont between unbeaten group winners Civil Service North and holders CIYMS, who held onto fourth despite losing for the second time in 24 hours, to Waringstown.

Set a target of 173 at The Lawn, after Andre Malan’s 82 from 45 balls (six sixes and six fours), they enjoyed the perfect start with John Matchett and Chris Dougherty putting on 75 for the first wicket in 9.2 overs but the introduction of Kyle McCallan not only dismissed both openers but also CI’s new number three, Jacob Mulder in the space of seven balls from the former Ireland captain.

Mulder is effectively Murray Commins’s replacement at Belmont, the Ireland international answering the call to end his Irish exile and went straight into the team on Friday night, six hours after landing from Australia.
Mulder’s dismissal was the third of nine wickets to fall for just 62 runs as CI went down by 35 runs.

There is still no stopping Civil Service North, with Woodvale their latest victims. Ross Adair made 87 not out as the table-toppers chased down the home side’s 143 with nine wickets and 16 balls to spare.

Harry Warke, son of former Ireland captain Stephen, finding his true batting place at No 6, hit 78 not out for Woodvale, from 49 balls with eight sixes and one four.