Craig Lewis still believes Derriaghy will survive

Derriaghy's Craig Lewis
Derriaghy's Craig Lewis

For Derriaghy Cricket Club on Saturday represents the last chance saloon if they harbour any realistic prospects of playing in the Ulster Bank Premier League next season.

It has been a roller-coaster of a season for the Queensway team this year.

It all began so well with a home victory against CIYMS, closely followed by an incredible performance in beating Donemana in the Irish Senior cup, going on to reach the quarter-final.

Then came an incredible one-man display by captain Craig Lewis at Stormont which almost derailed the eventual Arthur J Gallagher Challenge Cup winners CSNI.

Somewhat ironically, victory at CSNI is exactly what they need to spark a revival and Lewis knows thay need to get points on the board.

“Quite simply we have not been good enough when it matters. The problem has been that we really have not got our batting going consistently enough all season,” he said.

“I don’t have any regrets, nor do the team, it has been hard and we have suffered a few tough defeats along the way. You have to remember that only three of this team had Premier League experience before – myself, Andrew Kenny and Matthew Jennings.

“It is a big step up, but we were never going to compromise on our principles and bring in hired guns to stay up. We are a bunch of guys who enjoy playing with each other and it is a great young team that I believe can develop and we will belong in the top section.

“We are not down yet, certainly we will not give up, but we missed having our professional Kaushik Aphale for part of the season with injury and that makes a difference. I would ask if we had Pieter Malan in our side for the whole season where would we be now?

“Kaushik and myself are averaging around 40 and the next best is 19, not good enough especially as the talent is there. The bowlers have been fantastic and the younger guys have learnt how to bowl at this level, in particular Curtis Moorhead.

“He has one of the best economy levels in the league and it was great to see our efforts rewarded when he and I were selected for the Knights. Curtis was nervous and perhaps didn’t do himself justice but I know he wants to play again.

“It has been tough in the last few games and we have dropped something like 20 catches. We are a decent side and the guys put the effort in and train hard throughout the week, but we also like to enjoy ourselves.

“We need to win at least two of our last three and then hope, I believe we belong here and I certainly want to play in the top section.”

In tomorrow’s other games Carrickfergus host Waringstown and Lisburn welcome Instonians to Wallace Park.

On Sunday at Shaw’s Bridge another pivotal game as Instonians look to avenge last weekend’s defeat in the Irish Senior Cup against Waringstown and at the same time complete a league double against their fierce rivals.

It’s not quite a league decider but the winner will assume the mantle of title favourites.