Anticlimax as Waringstown outplay poor CIYMS
Alistair Bushe (News Letter)
BY ALISTAIR BUSHE AT BELMONT
IT was billed as the game of the season to date, a day when CIYMS and Waringstown auditioned for the role of NCU Premier League title contenders.
A big crowd clad in shorts, shirt sleeves and armed with bottles of factor 30 flocked to sun-drenched Belmont anticipating a classic, or at the very least a run feast served up by a selection of the finest batsmen in the club game.
In the end it felt like we were given a tasty enough starter, but the main course never quite materialised. The blame lies with CI’s batsmen who were inexplicably all out for just 150 in benign conditions having been 104 for three. Waringstown, the reigning Challenge Cup and Irish Cup holders, then strolled to a low-key six-wicket victory with 15 overs to spare, the sense of anti-climax inescapable.
After what amounted to a capitulation with the bat, CI will again have to fend off accusations that they rely far too much on Jeremy Bray and that if he fails they are unlikely to either post or chase down a challenging score.
Everything should have been in the home side’s favour after they won the toss and batted first and the stage was set for Bray when he came to the crease after the early departure of Barry Cooper.
Perhaps the pitch was a little too slow for his liking, perhaps Bray was overburdened by the brittle nature of the batting coming behind, or perhaps he showed just a little too much respect for Waringstown’s spin-orientated attack.
But whatever the reason, the left-hander was never at his fluent best, and when he edged Kris Lyness behind in the 20th over, having made 17 from 46 balls, Bray stormed off to the pavilion with an angry shake of the head.
Initially, it seemed that CI could rally despite losing their talisman. Taimur Khan, one of few batsmen in the division totally at home against Waringstown’s spinners, found a willing accomplice in Ryan Butterworth during a 39-run stand for the fourth wicket.
At 104 for three in the 28th over CI should have had realistic aspirations of reaching anywhere between 220 and 250. But Butterworth fell to a disputed caught and bowled catch for 22 which heralded the start of a collapse that saw the final seven wickets fall for 46 runs.
PJ Moor’s difficult start to life in Ulster cricket continued as he was lbw to Kyle McCallan (2-22) and Glen Addicott (3-25), Waringstown’s South African professional, effectively ended the game as a contest when he surprised Khan (47) with the first ball of his second spell, the Pakistani edging one to wicketkeeper Jonathan Bushe that may have left him just a little.
There was a display of defiance from Craig Boultwood (26 no) but this was a lower-order collapse eerily reminiscent of CI losing eight wickets for just 50 at Shaw’s Bridge in the first Saturday of May. They escaped with a win that day thanks to their bowlers and a more helpful pitch, but 150 on this flat track offered little hope of an escape.
CI’s bowling attack is more workmanlike than threatening and to win cricket matches against the best teams they will need big totals to defend and the opportunity to create scoreboard pressure.
Batting is infinitely easier when you only have to score at three runs an over, and only an unfortunate catch down the leg side did for James Hall and ended a 35-run opening stand with Simon Harrison.
If anything the villagers’ batting was a little lax. After looking in superb touch, hitting strongly over the top for 42 from 62 balls, Harrison walked too far across his stumps and was bowled by Stephen McChesney, and then Addicott and McCallan rather tossed their wickets away with victory in sight.
Lee Nelson was nowhere near as cavalier though, and an unbeaten 44 from 74 balls was a continuation of his fine Ireland A performances from during the week. With form like this, the 21-year-old must be knocking on the door of the senior side should a vacancy arrive.
This wasn’t a perfect Waringstown display. The suspicion is they will need more than three in-form batsmen to challenge North Down and Instonians, with Addicott and McCallan both requiring a big score to get them into form.
But it would be a major surprise if they are not right there when the major prizes are handed out. CI have work to do if they want to join them.