Instonians hopeful of cup glory
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
Instonians have had to pull replacement professional Farooq Iqbal out of today’s Ulster Bank Challenge Cup final against North Down because of a doubt over his registration.
The Pakistani, a left arm slow bowler, the Belfast side’s overseas professional last season, was confirmed in the Instonians line-up at 3pm yesterday but eight hours later Instonians withdrew him on a technicality.
Captain Eugene Moleon confirmed last night: “We believed we registered Farooq in time for the final but there could be a problem so we decided not to take a chance, but he will stay for the rest of the season”
Instonians lost Australian pace man Mick Delaney through injury ust a month into the season.
There was a boost with confirmation that James Shannon was fit to take his place at No 3 in the formidable Instonians top order.
Meanwhile, Lisburn moved within one win of the Ulster Bank Premier League leadership last night with victory over in-form Ballymena, a result which leaves seven of the eight teams within four points of each other.
Lisburn captain David Simpson top scored in a modest 110 for five, in their rearranged 20 overs clash at Wallace Park but Ballymena crashed from 42 for two to bat out the overs, finishing on 95 for nine, William Montgomery having scored 11 from 34 balls.
Tomorrow Lisburn must make the journey to The Lawn for their next game, just four five weeks after refusing to make the trip for a Challenge Cup quarter final against Waringstown.
A warm welcome has been promised for the Lisburn side, despite their knock-out success, as they opted, perfectly within the rules, for a bowl-out on their home ground rather than play a match just 16 miles away.
Waringstown will put thoughts of their cup defeat to one side and concentrate on closing the gap on the league leaders on a day when only three league games are played because, as is now tradition, the cup finalists don’t play the day after the final.
The opponents of North Down and Instonians have used the free date to rearrange their outstanding fixture from June 9, so Carrickfergus host CIYMS, with the home side, now 12 points adrift at the bottom still looking for their first win and the visitors, despite their home defeat to CSN last week, still very much in title contention and, depending on the other results, can return to co-leadership by tomorrow night.
The title race, which promises to be the most exciting in years, is set to change again on Sunday when North Down and Instonians, still the joint leaders on four wins face up in the league, at today’s cup final venue, while CSN host Waringstown who, before tomorrow’s action, are locked together on three wins.
First up for CSN, tomorrow, is a visit to Ballymena, never an easy ground to get anything out of and, after last night’s result, the home side will be extra keen to get back to winning ways.