Nick Larkin struck 77 from just 36 balls as North Down won an enthralling Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 tie against CIYMS at Belmont on Thursday night.
The Northern Knights hit struck 12 fours and two sixes but it nearly wasn’t enough as Chris Dougherty (83) and Rassie van der Dussen got CI to within 17 runs of an unlikely win.
North Down piled up 193 for five with Larkin reaching 50 off just 16 deliveries. Twenty20 specialist Daniel Graham struck 41 from just 18 balls, including three fours and three sixes. Captain Ryan Haire added 27 from just 14 balls.
Ross Boultwood bowled just one over for 24 runs before being hauled out of the attack while van der Dussen’s three overs went for 49.
A century partnership between van der Dussen, who struck 58 from 27 balls, and Dougherty put CI right in the hunt and they were right up with the asking rate until skipper Dougherty fell in the 18th over.
The left-hander’s 83 came from 65 balls and included eight fours and four sixes, but when he and Nathan Waller fell in immediate succession, the game was up. Peter Eakin and James Cameron-Dow both took two wickets apiece for the visitors.
North Down 193-5, (N Larkin 77, D Graham 41, R Haire 27, J Mulder 2-29, J Matchett 2-31). CIYMS 176-5 (C Dougherty 83, R van der Dussen 58, P Eakin 2-24, J Cameron-Dow 2-35). North Down won by 17 runs.