Saturday 5th August 2017



On another unpredictable weather day, only one brief shower interrupted the game for a short time. Thereafter the rain stayed away until the game was completed and what a thriller it was. Bottom of the league side Lisburn gave North Down a scare and almost deserved a favourable result. Almost, for it was the case that a side losing every week finds it difficult to get across the line though it lies within reach.

North Down batted first and disappointingly, only Nathan Burns held the side together as wickets tumbled around him. His fellow opener Danny Graham gloved to the wicket keeper, Ally Shields was trapped lbw and Ruan Pretorius played a totally out of character shot and was caught behind the wicket. When Peter Eakin was out next the total of 57 for 4 with the main run makers back in the pavilion the situation looked bleak. Burns got his first real support from Stuart Nelson who rotated the strike and accumulated runs steadily and looked comfortable with that role. Maybe a lack of experience, maybe a need to feel that he should make more of a contribution at this time but he showed a restlessness before giving his wicket up too easily for a valuable 18 in his 50 run partnership with Burns. Jay Hunter chipped in with 8, but it was the partnership at the end of the innings between Peter Davison (24) and Carl Robinson (37) that lifted the gloom around The Green as they added 50 plus to bring the total to 210 with Burns making a vital 85. At the break North Down had been 85 for 3 so it was an excellent recovery but a below par score for Lisburn to target.

All 6 Lisburn bowlers got wickets with the best figures going to opener David Simpson 2 for 24 and Gionne Koopman 2 for 25.

What a start the visitor got off to. 111 runs before the first wicket fell with Koopman (40) and the impressive Robert Rankin (69) setting up their side for the win. Rankin hit powerfully off the front foot and despatched the half volleys with ease. His 50 came off only 45 balls as Peter Davison and Peter Eakin were hit out of the attack bowling only 2 overs each at this stage. Pretorius bowled 5 economical overs and was wisely taken off for a later resumption.  Carl Robinson had good control and applied some pressure with his 1 for 23 off his 10 overs including the big wicket of Rankin. A tidy 5 over spell from Nelson saw him remove the Pro, Koopman and those two good catches from Tim Carson saw the runs dry up. Neil Doak and Glenn Halliday looked like winning the game for the visitors but Peter Davison ran out Doak and Peter Eakin had Halliday caught by Ally Shields and a panic set in. Captain Marty Moreland handled his bowlers very well and Eakin and the resurgent Pretorius bowled the last four Lisburn batsmen for a total of two runs.

An eight run victory that looked unlikely for a long time during the game and a result that keeps North Down clear second in the league and Lisburn anchored at the bottom with four difficult fixtures left.

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