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NCU Robinson Services Leagues - Weekend League Roundup (2nd/3rd June)

Richard White (NCU PRO) &
Wylie McKinty
Robinson Services

It was a return to Robinson Services League action on Saturday for the top two sections in the Northern Cricket Union. Waringstown maintained their position at the top of the table with a rain affected win over bottom team CSNI. While in Section 1 leaders Downpatrick were well beaten by Donacloney Mill. In Section 2 on Sunday Donaghadee recorded their 3rd win out of 3 to join Saintfield at the top.

Robinson Services Premier League
Premier League leaders Waringstown overcame bottom club CSNI in the only match in senior cricket to be affected by rain. Batting first CSNI posted 168 for 7 in an innings interrupted by showers floating across the ground. Marc Ellison (33) and Morgan Topping (21) had rescued their side from 33 for 3 but things looked bleak when both were out with the score on 78. Graeme McCarter and Corin Goodall (now playing as a batsman only) put together a 6th wicket partnership of 73 and with Goodall finishing on 42 not out the CSNI total finished on 168 for 7. For Waringstown three bowlers took 2 wickets apiece, Shaheen Khan 2-25, P Eaglestone 2-25 and Gary Kidd 2-18.

Set 170 to win in 43 overs by DLS, probably the NCU's most prolific opening partnership of James Hall and Adam Dennison ensured no early alarms for Waringstown as they put on 98 for the first wicket in 27 overs before Hall was out just after posting his half century. Fresh from his success for the Northern Knights in the three day inter pro game James McCollum joined Dennison at the crease. Dennison posted his fourth score of 50 or more in league and cup matches for the season before he was second out for 60. Despite losing 2 further wickets with 5 runs to win, McCollum and Greg Thompson saw the home side over the finish line with 3 overs to spare. Pick of the CSNI bowlers was Andrew Malan with 2-35 and Ben Adair with 2-33.

In what was billed as the game of the day, Instonians slumped to 12 for 4 early on against CIYMS at Belmont as Allen Coulter picked up 3 early wickets. Despite a defiant 32 not out from teenager Ben Rose Instonians could only post a below par score of 116 in 43.4 overs. Backing up Coulter's early burst were Matt McGillivray with 2-24 and Jacob Mulder with 2-8 from 3 overs. A first wicket partnership of 73 between John Matchett and Chris Dougherty ensured there would be no alarms in the CIYMS innings. Matchett dominated the opening partnership with 54 before he became the first of James Shannon's 2 wickets. Nigel Jones contributed a cameo of 16 and the game was all over during the 22nd over with Dougherty finishing on 29 not out.

Muckamore will be disappointed to have lost at Comber against North Down after an opening partnership of 104 between Sam Gordon (36) and Aditya Adey (54) had seemingly set them up to chase down the home sides 245 for 8. However North Down captain Marty Moreland's spell of 4 for 38 from 10 overs stopped Muckamore's momentum and 3 wickets from Peter Eakin ensured the home side ran out comfortable winners in the end by 38 runs. Earlier Daniel Graham continued his fine run of form with 95 and Ryan Haire scored his first 50 since returning to Comber. Neil Gill (2-52), Pavan Kartick (2-42) and Fahad Iqbal (2-40) were the main wicket takers in the North Down innings.

At Middle Road Armagh were hoping to put their recent batting woes behind them as they took on a Carrick team missing Pat Botha. In the early stages of the Carrick innings Armagh were on top as first the home team slumped to 24 for 3 and then 116 for 6. Shadley van Schalkwyk picked up 2 early wickets (finishing with 3 for 40) and Carrick didn't help themselves with 2 run outs. However, the tone of the match changed with a 85 run partnership between Jack Burton (83) and Matthew McCord (57). Some late order hitting from wicket keeper Max Burton took Carrick over the 250 mark, eventually finishing on 268 for 9. For Armagh Neil Gelston with 2-42 and Harry Doyle with 2-36 were the other main wicket takers.

In reply Armagh started well with an opening partnership of 93 between Gelston and Jamie Rogers. Rogers would be out for 67 but 40 from van Schalwkyk and 37 from skipper Matthew Steenson kept Armagh in the game. However, Alex Haggan (2-51) removed van Schalwkyk and as the scoring rate required increased wickets began to tumble and Carrick gained control of the game. McCord returned his best figures for Carrick of 4-40 since moving to Middle Road in the winter and this ensured a comfortable win in the end for the home team of 33 runs.

Saturday Results (2nd June)
Carrickfergus beat Armagh by 33 runs
CIYMS beat Instonians by 8 wickets
North Down beat Muckamore by 38 runs
Waringstown beat CSNI by 6 wickets

Robinson Services League 1
In Section 1 previously unbeaten Downpatrick suffered a setback to their promotion claims when they went down by 76 runs to Donacloney Mill (previously winless in the league this season).  Donacloney Mill's innings of 255 for 6 was down to Alan Harland's 69 and David Dawson's 51no. Dale Mullan picked up 2 of the wickets to fall for 16 runs. In reply despite 67 from the in-form Craig Boultwood Downpatrick fell well off of the required target as they finished 76 runs short.

Holywood took advantage of Downpatrick's loss to join them on 12 points at the top of the table by easily overcoming Lurgan at a sun kissed Seapark Oval despite a hundred from Rohit Karanjkar. He dominated a 3rd wicket partnership of 93 with Stephen Chambers (who was run out for 27) and at one stage Lurgan were 180 for 2 with just over 7 overs to go, so to finish on 220 for 8 will have disappointed the away team. Mark Best with 2 for 25, Ron Defreitas 2 for 64 and Jordan Wilson 3 for 33 were the wicket takers for Holywood (Wilson only conceding 8 runs in two overs at the death).

Holywood were always in control of the run chase as openers Paddy Park (25) and Charles Beverland (47) put on 75 for the first wicket in 17 overs. Even when both fell within 4 overs of each other to Karanjkar, Jordan Wilson followed up his bowling performance with 66 in partnership with Nathan Burns as they put on 99 for the third wicket. When Wilson was out Richard Kerrigan ensured there would be no comeback for Lurgan as he saw Holywood home with Burns (who finished on 50no).

Joining Downpatrick and Holywood at the top of Section 1 with 12 points are Bangor who had a comfortable win over Laurelvale at Uprichard Park. Choosing to bat first Laurelvale found the going tough early on as they found runs hard to come by. The run rate barely got above 2 an over for long periods. Andrew Nixon and Neil Bates picked up 1 wicket apiece but by the 24th over only 2 wickets had fallen. An inspired move by Bangor captain Chris Burns to bring Nicky McCollum on just before the drinks break paid dividends right away as he picked up his first wicket with his first ball.

Drinks were taken immediately and McCollum finished the over on resumption and picked up his second with the 4th ball. Mixing up his pace (and length) he would go on to pick up 4 more wickets and ensure that he would be the recipient of a piece of Robinson Services crystal later in the season. Burns picked up the other 2 wickets to fall as Laurelvale were dismissed for 134 in the 46th over.

Chris Burns and Nicky McCollum opened the innings for Bangor and seemed to be in a rush to get the game finished quickly as they raced to 40 for no wicket after 7 overs. The introduction of Lee Edgar in to the attack changed the pace of the game as his gentle away swingers accounted for 3 wickets. This slowed the scoring rate but Laurelvale could not pick up the crucial wickets they needed. Andrew Nixon (who top scored for Bangor with 35) and Adam McCusker (25no) took the home team close to the winning line before Nixon was run out in a mix up. It was too little too late for Laurelvale as Bangor passed the required total in the 35th over.

The final game of the weekend in Section 1 was at Ballygomartin Road where Woodvale entertained Lisburn. Woodvale's imposing total of 238 for 6 was based around 2 partnerships. The first was a second wicket one of 69 between Michael Irwin (22) and JJ Strydom (61) and a 6 wicket one of 78 between Mark Irwin (48) and Sam Fleming (45no). Captain and Wicket keeper Jamie Gibson hit a quickfire 29no off 17 balls in the final overs to post Woodvale's score of 238. Adam Berry took 3 for 43 to disrupt the Woodvale middle order but his major contribution was to come in the Lisburn innings.

With the early loss of both openers Adam batted first with David Simpson (27) and then his brother Mark (27) for two 50 plus run partnerships. He then received valuable support from the lower order as he saw Lisburn home and, in the process, brought up his first senior ton for Lisburn. He eventually finished on 125no from 121 balls hitting 10 fours and 5 sixes and he too will pick up a piece of Robinson Services crystal. Farhan Saeed with 2 for 34 and Lewis Adair with 2-31 were the most successful Woodvale bowlers.

Saturday Results (2nd June)
Bangor beat Laurelvale by 6 wickets
Donacloney Mill beat Downpatrick by 76 runs
Holywood beat Lurgan by 7 wickets
Lisburn beat Woodvale by 4 wickets

Robinson Services League 2

There were no games in Section 2 on Saturday due to the Junior Cup second round.

However, On Sunday Larne recorded their first win of the season courtesy of a walkover v Drumaness while Donaghadee continued their good start to the season with a 38-run win over Dundrum at The Meadow. This is their 3rd win out of 3 and they join Saintfield at the top of Section 2 with 12 points.

Batting first Donaghadee scored 227 for 8 with Adam Williamson top scoring with 59no ably supported by 42 from Jonathan Keenan, 30 from Phil McNamarra and 29 from Michael Martin. Terry Hutley 3 for 40 and Stuart Campbell 2 for 67 were the best of the Dundrum bowling. In reply Dundrum fell 38 runs short being bowled out for 189 with Jack Woods scoring 44 and Hutley making 32. Cameron Ferris took 4 for 37 and Jordie McCluskey 3 for 30.

As of writing the only information about the third game in this section on Sunday is that Cooke Collegians beat Belfast SuperKings by 4 runs at Mallusk Playing fields.

Sunday Results (3rd June)
Cooke Collegians beat Belfast SuperKings by 4 runs
Donaghadee beat Dundrum by 38 runs
Larne walkover v Drumaness