CRICKET: Weather makes for a frustrating time

Derriaghy batsman Craig Lewis
Derriaghy batsman Craig Lewis

Unfortunately there is only one word that can be used about Saturday’s fixtures in the Ulster Bank Premier League - frustrating!

My return to Derriaghy’s Queensway to watch the reenactment of a keenly anticipated local derby against Lisburn ended in ultimate disappointment.

Rain was always a possibility but the home side had worked hard to ensure that the game commenced pretty much on schedule. On a day when the toss was always going to be a vital component, Lisburn skipper Adam Berry called correctly and had no hesitation asking the home side to bat.

Opening bowlers David Simpson and Mark Berry, quickly found a nagging line and length and runs were at a premium. With no shortage of appeals being turned down by the umpires, when Derriaghy had 16 on the board Simpson made the breakthrough finding the edge of Ross Bailey’s bat and a regulation catch behind.

Kaushik Aphale joined Adam Jamison and survival was still the name of the game, until midway through the 13th over the rains arrived. A 10 minute shower threatened to finish the afternoon, but again after sterling work by the ground staff after just over 90 minutes delay we were back on the field.

The joy if that is the word was to be short lived as a mere 7 balls later the heavens opened and we were treated to thunder, rain and finally a layer of hailstones. Early tea was taken but I think we all knew the outcome and in spite of the sun splitting the stones the damage was done and play abandoned for the day.

A major disappointment for all concerned as a decent crowd had gathered to watch, for me it signalled a short drive to Shaws Bridge to see if we would fare any better there.

I arrived as the players were returning from another early tea to find the covers on and little prospect of an imminent return. Again in spoite of the work of the ground staff and no further rain the ground showed little improvement and another futile two hours before the inevitable handshakes.

In the play that had been possible once again the team winning the toss Carrickfergus, inserted and showed just how improved they were by causing plenty of problems for Instonians.

After 13 overs the home side had advanced to 27 for 2 and arguably it could have been worse; only the fact that Anthony Martin overstepped second ball he would have had a caught behind.

Instonians though were in enough trouble at 10-2, with both Nikolai Smith and Stephen Bunting out to lbw decisions to Martin and Michael Armstrong respectively. It was a perfect day for seam bowling and the pitch was also offering help, with Armstrong in particular causing trouble for all the batsmen.

With the prospect of play resting on a 20 over game, Carrick naturally were more interested in getting back on the field than Inst. as they were firmly in the driving seat and potentially chasing a fairly low victory target under Duckworth/Lewis.

Two games, a grand total of 26.5 overs completed of which I managed to watch 13.5, a fairly meagre return for over 6 hours watching and waiting, mostly dry overhead and indeed mainly sunny. The pleasures of cricket in a Northern Ireland summer!