Underdogs show bite
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
Instonians and North Down can concentrate on the Ulster Bank Premier League after Saturday's events in the first round of the AJG Challenge Cup - but they could be at opposite ends of the table.
Both crashed out of the Cup to Section One opponents but the Comber side will, undoubtedly, be the more worried as they prepare for a league game against champions Waringstown on Saturday.
The defeat to Downpatrick, by six wickets defending 240, was North Down's third of the season as even 85 from their classy professional Peter Malan was not enough to set up a win, their struggling attack exposed by Amit Patil and skipper Craig Boultwood.
In contrast, Muckamore's even more impressive win by seven wickets over Instonians, last year's beaten Cup finalists, should not cause undue alarm at Shaw's Bridge. This was their first defeat of the season and, for now, will be treated as a one-off.
It won't be often that Instonians' deep batting line-up will have a top score of 34 - Andrew White's innings ended by a run out - while the bowlers came up against an immovable professional in Avodhoot Dandekar who saw the Section One side home with 96 out of 201. Elsewhere, the difference between the top two sections was underlined with the other Premier League sides easing into the second round draw.
Carrickfergus were unable to play their professional because Bangor don't have one, but he wouldn't have been needed anyway as the Middle Road side continued their impressive start to the season with a nine-wickets win, reaching their target of 148 before halfway.
Lisburn are the other PL side on the up, dismissing Lurgan for 83 at Pollock Park with Mark Berry taking five wickets and Steve Lazars was then in a hurry to finish the match, hitting 29 from seven balls.