North Down facing T20 exit but Ballymena sail on
Alistair Bushe (News Letter)
NORTH Down’s hopes of retaining the Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 Cup are hanging by a thread after last night’s eight-wicket defeat by Instonians at The Green.
John Stevenson, the left-handed batsman, struck an unbeaten 64 from just 48 balls as Inst reached a modest target of 113 with 11 balls to spare.
Earlier, Mick Delaney, the Australian fast bowler, and Eugene Moleon, did most of the damage as the cup holders failed to bat out their 20 overs. Delaney removed Andrew Sutherland second ball and also took the wicket of Alistair Shields, who hit three fours and a six in a top score of 31.
Rory McCann and James Shannon, who flew back from Ireland A’s match in Kent, both took part for Instonians as North Down lost their second match in this year’s tournament. They must now beat Civil Service North in their final group game to stand any chance of progressing to the semi-finals.
Meanwhile in the other group at Eaton Park Ballymena took a major step towards the last four by beating Carrickfergus by six wickets with three balls to spare.
Michael Gilmour, the entertaining young Carrick batsman, struck 68 from just 45 balls, including nine fours and two sixes, as the visitors posted a respectable 139 for five in their 20 overs.
However Kaushik Aphale, the Indian professional, made 66 from 51 balls, hitting eight fours and one six, and David Kennedy made 34 from only 33 as Ballymena closed in on the semi-finals.
Group A: North Down 112, 19.5 overs (A Shields 31, M Delaney 2-8, E Moleon 2-20); Instonians 114-2, 18.1 overs (J Stevenson 64 no). Instonians won by eight wickets.
Group B: Carrickfergus 138-5 (M Gilmour 68, M Glass 2-12); Ballymena 139-4 19.3 overs (K Aphale 66, D Kennedy 34, I Parkhill 2-26), Ballymena won by six wickets.