Instonians and Muckamore stay in NCU Challenge Cup

Ross Boltwood of CIYMS
Ross Boltwood of CIYMS

Instonians and Muckamore ensured there were no further Premier League casualties from the first round of the NCU Ulster Bank Challenge Cup.

Instonians, one of the cup favourites, made short work of Section One Holywood at Separk on Sunday night while Muckamore finally secured their first victory of the season by beating Bangor at Upritchard Park.

Instonians were nervous about the trip to Seapark, principally because of a weather forecast that hinted at persistent rain in certain parts of the day.

For a while it appeared their worst fears could be realised with drizzle forcing the players off for more than an hour with Instonians on 71 for two after 15 overs, having lost captain Neil Russell and Andrew White to former North Down paceman David Kennedy.

With the first game having been washed out, a second abandonment would have forced the lottery the bowl-out, a scenario Russell dreaded after Inst exited the Irish Cup to Railway Union in that exact manner.

Holywood spurned a golden opportunity to put the visitors deeper into trouble when Wasim, on just one, lofted the ball straight to long-off but a simple catch was spurned. With that chance went Holywood’s hopes of an upset as Wasim and James Shannon added 114 for the third wicket.

It was the second time the pair had compiled a century stand in two days but Shannon fell four runs short of his half-century and Wasim followed soon after, having top scored with 65 from 79 balls, including five fours.

It was during a frenetic last 10 overs that Inst really got away from the home side as Eric Layard, Jordan McClurkin and Nikolai Smith all plundered the bowlers. Layard struck two fours and a six in his unbeaten 39 from 34 balls but the real fireworks came from Smith. The South African cleared the boundary three times during his unbeaten 37 from just 16 balls.

A total of 252 was well beyond Holywood’s reach and after 30 from Mandar Dhumke, they lost their last nine wickets for just 39 runs to subside to 103 all out.

Shannon claimed three for 13 and Eugene Moleon, on his comeback to the side, was one of the three bowlers to take two wickets in a 149-run win.

Muckamore’s passage into the last eight was secured courtesy of an unbeaten 130-run stand for the second wicket between Australian duo Craig Michan and Patrick Fisher.

Fisher struck eight fours and two sixes in unbeaten 82 while Mickan’s 56 not out contained four fours and a six. Muckamore eased to a modest target of 170 with more than 10 overs to spare.

Earlier Andrew Nixon fell four runs short of a century for Bangor after striking 13 fours and a six.

Gary Nicholl was the pick of the Muckamore attack with three for 26.

Templepatrick sprung a surprise in NCU Section One as a century from professional Bob Homani helped them beat Lurgan by 133 runs.

Templepatrick 253-4 (B Homani 112, J Hunter 32, A Campbell 32, R Smith 29, Callum Grieve 2-40). Lurgan 120 (S Chambers 35, R Davis 4-32, J Fettis 2-27), Templepatrick won by 133 runs. Section Two: Cooke Collegians 162 (A Millar 31, L WIlmott 29, Ismail 5-26, Santosh 3-11) BISC 157 (Brijash 45, G Shekar 2-24, P Kava 2-30, J Stinson 2-30). Cooke Collegians won by 5 runs