Double joy for North Down across Challenge Cup weekend
It was the perfect weekend for North Down as they followed Challenge Cup progression against Cliftonville Academy by picking up a victory over CSNI in the Premier League.
Aniruddha Chore (49*) helped the Comber side chase down 102 at the Castle Grounds against their Section One opponents before they registered a comfortable third league win of the season.
There were six half-centuries at a picturesque Green yesterday afternoon, with Alistair Shields (70) and Ryan Haire (62) leading the way for the home side to set an imposing 322/4 after being inserted to bat.
After early wickets, CSNI captain Gary Wilson (81) and Chris McMorran (88) put on 144 for the fifth wicket, but when the latter was run out and Wilson was stumped, the game was all but over.
The Stormont outfit - who beat Armagh in the Challenge Cup on Saturday - finished on 262 to lose by a margin of 60 runs and North Down skipper Shields was understandably delighted with the work of his team over the weekend.
“We set ourselves the target of going two from two in those games,” he said.
“It was great to get over the line on Saturday and Cliftonville Academy made it tricky for us in the chase.
“Today the batters set it up beautifully and 300 takes a bit of chasing, so that was great.”
North Down have won the Challenge Cup - the NCU’s most prestigious competition - 32 times in total but the last came in 2010.
One of their main aims this season will be to put that right and lift another piece of silverware in front of home support.
“We go into every game thinking we can win it,” added Shields.
“Civil Service have been going well and today showed that on our day we can beat anybody.
“Winning every game will be our target and we will see where that leaves us in the league.
“Why not have a cup run and try to get to a final.”
Tom Mayes and Peter Davison were both impressive with the ball across two matches and with the absence of Irish international Craig Young in the coming weeks, they will be even more important.
Mayes has settled comfortably into life in the NCU while Davison picked up the crucial wicket of CSNI opener Luke Georgeson with the very first ball of the innings.
“The two boys bowled really well and set the win up, Daisy in particular,” said Shields.
“He got the big wicket of Luke in the first over and all weekend he was excellent with his length and he rarely gives anything away.
“That’s really pleasing and we felt the spinners squeezed in the middle really well.”
North Down have now won four 50-over matches in a row and Shields is looking to carry that momentum into the upcoming matches, starting with a home clash against Woodvale next Saturday.
“Momentum is key,” he added.
“We went through a run at the back end of the Twenty20 competition where it went the other way and it can be tough to wrestle that back.
“We are on a high at the minute and will be looking to take that into next weekend with another home game and try and go again.”
There were no upsets in the Gallagher Challenge Cup first round as every fixture went to form on Saturday.
The most remarkable individual performance of the afternoon came from Woodvale all-rounder Aditya Adey, who picked up incredible figures of 7-14 against Templepatrick.
Adey’s efforts meant the visitors were limited to 128 all out before Harry Warke (73*) and James Hall (43*) led Woodvale to a comfortable 10-wicket win.
In the only all-Premier League tie of the afternoon, CIYMS beat Carrickfergus by 122 runs.
Graham Kennedy (72) and Jacob Mulder (55) helped get CI out of a spot of early bother as they posted 248-8 from their 50-overs.
Nigel Jones (3-28) picked up the key wicket of Jacques Snyman and Carrick’s chase never gained momentum as they were bowled out for 126.
Lisburn also eased through by a margin of nine wickets after they dismissed Donacloney Mill for 47.
Josh Manley (6-29) did most of the damage but was supported by David Simpson (2-9) and Matthew Humphreys (2-7).
Adam Berry’s side made light work of the chase to book their spot in the second round - where Waringstown, Instonians and Cregagh could await after all three also won their opening ties.
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