Rassie van der Dussen signed off from NCU cricket in the indomitable manner in which he has batted for most of the summer, smashing a match-winning unbeaten 99 against Muckamore to keep CIYMS’s Premier League hopes alive.
The South African leaves the NCU with remarkable statistics. He has plundered 862 runs at an average of 86.20 with 25 wickets thrown in for good measure.
He couldn’t have got any closer to a second century, finishing unbeaten on 99 as CI chased down what could have been a tricky target of 209 with almost 10 overs to spare.
Muckamore have been the subject of cruel jokes this season, given the brittle nature of their batting and another spectacular collapse appeared inevitable as they slumped to 17 for four batting first. Stephen Dunn, the left-arm seamer, claimed all four wickets.
However, to their considerable credit Muckamore bounced back, professional Craig Mickan making 35, captain Neil Gill 29 and Richard Keates, possibly their most consistent batsman this season, adding 37.
But at 139 for eight, they were back in trouble only for Jamie Magowan (37) and Gary Nicholl (31) to take advantage of some shoddy CI bowling and fielding to add 68 for the ninth wicket.
A final total of 208 for nine was Muckamore’s highest of the season and their hopes of an upset grew when Nicholl claimed Chris Dougherty for 10. But van der Dussen found an impressive ally in teenager John Matchett, who struck six fours on his way to a highest senior score of 43. The second-wicket partnership was 127 and CI wrapped up victory in the 41st over as Jeremy Bray came in and batted as if he was in a hurry.
The former Ireland man struck six fours and three sixes in an unbeaten 50 as van der Dussen finished one run short of his century. He hit eight fours and five sixes.
CSNI remain dark horses in the title races as they cruised to an eight-wicket victory over Lisburn at Wallace Park.
Nigel Jones won a crucial toss and taking advantage of bowler-friendly conditions early on, CSNI reduced Lisburn to 49 for three and then 86 for four with Craig Ervine making a patient 54 off 104 balls. The normally fluent left-hander struck one six but no other boundaries before falling to Andrew Cowden.
From 117 for four Lisburn lost their last six wickets for just 26 runs with Griffin Nieuwoudt taking four for 19.
Lisburn were right in the game as Darry Brown and David Simpson accounted for Regan West and Paddy Park respectively to reduce CSNI to nine for two but that was their last sniff of victory.
Cowden, the hero of the Challenge Cup final, played second fiddle in an unbeaten third-wicket partnership with Jason van der Merwe, the increasingly impressive young batsman.
Van der Merwe struck an unbeaten 77 including two fours and two sixes with Cowden unbeaten on 36 as CSNI got home with almost six overs to spare.
Lisburn seconds also suffered disappointment as they lost a thrilling Junior cup final to Academy. Full report on the final in Wednesday’s Total Cricket.