No rain but no play at Wallace Park
Ian Callender (News Letter)
Despite 48 hours without rain, Lisburn's Wallace Park ground was still unplayable yesterday so their Premier League clash with champions North Down was postponed for a second time.
The Comber side, though, will be in Sunday’s draw for the second round of the Ulster Bank Challenge Cup after their 35 runs victory over Ballymena on Saturday. It would have been closer if the visitors had not collapsed from 115 for two to 157 for nine with two leg before decisions and a caught behind going against the Braidmen.
The latter decision was given against professional Kaushik Aphale who was well set on 61 and was particularly galling because not only was the batsman convinced he had not touched it but the North Down fielders had all but given up on their appeal. But, remarkably, the umpire raised his finger after an interminable delay and Ballymena’s last hope of victory had gone.
It could be said to have affected the result because although Ballymena’s last wicket fell when they were still 89 runs short of victory, Robert Kennedy (23 not out) and Simon McDowell put on 53 before the captain was caught for a classy 30 – and there were still 13 balls remaining. How much different would it have been if Aphale had been able to share partnerships with the last wicket pair?
David Kennedy also hit a welcome 50 for Ballymena, in a third wicket stand of 96 with their overseas star, but it was his namesake on the North Down side who was the most impressive bowler and, ultimately, the match winner, taking the final wicket.
Earlier, North Down’s top five all got starts but only Johnny Terrett, batting at No 7, reached 50, at better than a run-a-ball with six fours and two sixes as they finished on 245 for nine.
Holders Waringstown had a much more comfortable success against Carrickfergus, needing only 28 overs to chase down their victory target of 140 with James Hall finishing 79 not out from 81 balls with eight fours and two sixes. There was a collapse here as well, making the home side’s task so much easier, Carrick slumping from 90 for three with only Ryan Eagleson, again, standing firm while wickets tumbled at the other end.
The other two games where grounds were fit enough to host action lasted less than six hours in total with Civil Service North needing only 14 overs to pass Derriaghy’s inadequate 59 – extras were top score in both innings – and Instonians needed five balls less to score 71 for two and ease past Woodvale. The four postponed games, including the game of the round between Lisburn and CIYMS, will be played on Sunday.
In the North West, only one of the three unbeaten teams preserved that record on Saturday as Bready surprisingly lost to Glendermott and Strabane were dismissed for just 103 by Coleraine. Both returned to winning ways yesterday but Donemana now lead the way after their surprisingly easy eight wickets win at Limavady and they followed that up yesterday with an exciting three wickets success against Fox Lodge.