North Down win trophy
Alistair Bushe (News Letter)
JO Montgomery smashed an unbeaten 43 from just 27 balls as North Down beat Instonians by three wickets to win Metal Technology Cup in dramatic fashion at Comber last night.
Needing 140 for victory, the host club looked to have blown their chances as a devastating bowling display from the underdogs left Peter Shields’ men reeling on 51 for six.
Eugene Moleon had started the ball rolling for Instonians by dismissing Ryan Haire and Neil Russell with successive deliveries and when overseas professional Iain Robertson and Taimur Khan were victims of poor shot selection off Neil Hamilton, North Down were teetering on 37 for four.
Andrew Sutherland and Peter Shields also went cheaply to an Instonians team missing a host of first choice players.
But staring defeat in the face, Montgomery, who might not have played on finals day had Ralph Coetzee been available, and Johnny Terrett brought North Down back from the brink with superb partnership of 61 for the seventh wicket.
With an unlikely 66 needed off the final seven overs, Inst were strong favourites, but gradually the momentum shifted back towards North Down.
They required a much more manageable 29 from three overs and although Terrett was well caught on the long-off boundary off Billy Dale for an excellent 33 in the 18th over, victory was always likely with Montgomery at the crease.
Crucially, Moleon left himself to bowl the last over, and by then it was almost too late as 10 came from the penultimate over bowled by Stephen Bunting to leave North Down requiring seven from six balls.
Marty Moreland, who earlier bowled his four overs for just 18 runs, got the Comber club home with three balls to spare, but Montgomery was the big hero, having hit six boundaries in a nerveless knock under pressure.
It was tough luck on Instonians whose 139 for four owed much to Moleon, who hit three towering sixes and two fours in 38 from just 33 balls. Opener Rory McCann hit 34 from 33 balls, including four fours, but it just wasn’t enough for Inst, who lost in the Twenty20 final for the second successive time.
Earlier, NORTH Down and Instonians cruised into the finals of the Metal Technology Cup with victories over Carrickfergus and Waringstown respectively.
The fireworks were reserved for North Down’s seven-wicket win over Carrick on the top pitch where the visitors looked well poised at the halfway stage, having posted a formidable looking 186 for six.
Ryan Eagleson’s men started at a breathtaking pace, with Gavin Ewing smashing 36 from just 13 balls, including four fours and two sixes, and Ricky Stirling hitting 29 from 17 deliveries.
The pace barely let up throughout and a quickfire 40 from 27 balls from Michael Gilmour towards the end helped Carrickfergus reached what many observers assumed was a winning total.
However, their hopes were immediately shattered as Eagleson conceded 18 in his first over as Iain Robertson, the New Zealand batsman, unleashed a flurry of boundaries.
The right-hander brought up his 50 in just 20 balls and when North Down reached their 100 in the seventh over, a shell-shocked Carrick were already staring down the barrel of certain defeat.
Robertson was eventually bowled after a magnificent 87 from just 49 balls, including 15 fours and two sixes. Ryan Haire made 39 and Neil20Russell an unbeaten 20 as an eight-wicket victory was achieved with three overs to spare.
Instonians, missing 11 first team players, owed their eight-wicket win over Waringstown to some excellent seam bowling. The villagers never recovered after losing four early wickets on a lively astroturf pitch with Neil Hamilton (2-18) and Billy Dale (2-18) doing the bulk of the damage.
Jonathan Bushe held them up with 32 from 28 balls but they looked unlikely to reach 100 after slumping to 75 for seven. Tharaka Kottehewa at least offered them respectability, his unbeaten 32 from 19 balls helping the villagers reach 112 for seven.
Waringstown desperately needed early wickets but despite a fiery opening two overs from Kottehewa, Divan van Wyk, the Instonians professional, settled the match with an excellent 60 from 48 balls. The South African struck nine boundaries and Hamilton hit two fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 29 as they cruised home with almost four overs to spare.