After a weekend washed out by rain, the Robinson Services Premier League returned on Bank Holiday Monday with a full slate of fixtures.
Johnny Morton reports on the winners and big performers from a day of thrilling action.
CSNI vs Lisburn – Lisburn won by 6 wickets
There was a new name at the top of CSNI’s batting order for their second match of the season – none other than former Ireland captain William Porterfield! Porterfield, who has represented his country on 310 occasions, joined Luke Georgeson as the Stormont club were asked to bat first by Lisburn captain Callum Atkinson.
The left-handed duo safely navigated the first 10 overs but shortly after the visitors made a breakthrough as Porterfield (23) was caught behind off the bowling of David Simpson (2-30). Marc Ellison (21) – making his return to the 50-over arena – put on 39 for the second wicket with Georgeson before nicking a Mark Berry delivery to wicketkeeper David Miller and when captain Stuart Thompson (1) followed soon after, CSNI were left sitting on 76-3.
Ryan Hunter (20) provided some resistance in the middle order until he was bowled by Atkinson (1-18) and that started a collapse as the hosts fell from 113-3 to 171 all out. Georgeson (54) was the sixth wicket to fall – also to Berry – who carried on from his fine performance against CIYMS by finishing with remarkable figures of 5-27.
CSNI made a promising start to their defence as Jonny Waite (8) and Neil Whitworth (4) departed in quick succession and Lisburn found themselves 56-4 inside 20 overs.
As long as Faiz Fazal was in the middle, Lisburn were always going to be confident in pulling off victory, and the overseas professional found a perfect partner in Glenn Halliday (46*). The pair put on a stand of 118 to get their side over the line with Fazal finishing on 95* – a 133-ball innings which included 10 fours and a six – to continue Lisburn’s unbeaten start to the 2022 campaign.
CIYMS vs Waringstown – CIYMS won by 5 wickets
This fixture has produced a number of memorable games across both league and cup competitions in recent years, and it was the Belfast club that came out on the winning side of this encounter. Batting first, Waringstown’s opening pair of Adam Dennison (20) and captain Lee Nelson (25) put on 50 before both were dismissed by Nigel Jones (3-20), and the CI skipper picked up another shortly after as James McCollum (5) departed to leave the visitors sitting on 71-3.
That brought Jamie Gibson (48) to the crease alongside Morgan Topping (58) and the pair steadied the ship with their partnership reaching 81 before the former was trapped lbw by James Cameron-Dow (1-25).
Chasing a target of 230, the home side got off to a flying start through John Matchett (46) and Ross Adair (41) which would ultimately set the platform for success.
Ross Allen (4-40) picked up both openers before dismissing Mark Adair (32) and Graham Kennedy (13), but Jones (34*) capped off an all-round performance by steering his side to victory alongside overseas professional Keith Dudgeon (27*).
Cliftonville Academy vs Cregagh – Cliftonville Academy won by 74 runs
In a meeting between the two newly promoted top-flight teams, Cliftonville Academy picked up their first points of the season with a 74-run victory over Cregagh. Max Burton – the star of their title-winning campaign of 2021 – was back amongst the runs once again as he struck 68 before contributions from David Reid (46), Matthew McCord (35*) and Shaun O’Leary (29) helped push Cliftonville Academy up to 238/6.
Danny Cooper (4-45) was in fine form with the ball for Cregagh before scoring 40 at the top of the order in their chase, which never really gained any momentum.
Five home players registered in the wicket column, led by McCord (3-34) as Cregagh were bowled out for 164 inside 46 overs.
Instonians vs North Down – North Down won by 8 wickets
A second consecutive Robinson Services Premier League century for Paul Stirling helped North Down to an 8-wicket win against Instonians at Shaws Bridge. Nikolai Smith (72) top-scored for the home side and was ably supported by the likes of Rob McKinley (61*) and James Metcalfe (32) as they posted 236/5.
It’s hard to determine what a good score is when the likes of Stirling (109) and Ani Chore (90) are in the opposition, and the pair put on a remarkable stand of 204 for the first wicket to set up a comfortable win. Irish international Stirling scored his runs from just 88 balls (eight fours, nine sixes) before he was caught off the bowling of James Rose (2-69), who also picked up the wicket of Chore shortly after. Neil Brand (24*) finished the game off and North Down will be in action again on Thursday evening in a rearranged league fixture against CSNI.
Carrickfergus vs Woodvale – Woodvale won by 21 runs
Aditya Adey produced a superb all-round performance to inspire Woodvale to their first Premier League win of the season. Coming in at number 4 with the platform well set by James Hall (34) and Harry Warke (28), Adey blasted 93 during his 85-ball stay at the crease, which included eight fours and five sixes. He would have been eyeing up a deserved century but was caught off the bowling of Dan Kearsley with five overs to go, but some late hitting from Wayne Horwood (30 off 15) helped push the visitors up to 287/7.
Carrick’s overseas professional Jacques Snyman has been the most destructive batsman in the league during his spell in the NCU and has the ability to chase down any score almost single-handedly, so when he reached 50 from 47 balls, there would have been nerves in the Woodvale camp. The South African put on 117 for the second wicket with Ian Parkhill (30) before the opener was dismissed by Kyle Walsh (3-36), who then also had Snyman (85) caught shortly after. Adey then picked up the key wickets of Jeremy Lawlor (52) and the dangerous Alex Haggan (32) to secure the four points for his side.
Robinson Services Premier League