Waller stuns old mates with unbeaten 135

Nathan Waller batting for Lisburn
Nathan Waller batting for Lisburn

The big question of the weekend should be posed to Nathan Waller, until Saturday one of the great unfulfilled talents NCU cricket has seen over recent years.

What prompted Waller to finally display his burgeoning talent after all this time in a simply breathtaking 135 not out? Was it the motivation of playing against his former Lisburn-mates, against a club that opted against bringing him back to Wallace Park this summer?

Or was it even the preview on these pages last Thursday, when we challenged the big Zimbabwean to finally get out of first gear?

Whatever the reasoning, Waller played one of the great innings in Premier League history. The statistics are amazing. The 135 came from just 94 balls, with his century coming up in 72 deliveries. The next highest scorer was opener Chris Dougherty with just 26. Waller struck five fours and 10 sixes, at least two of which were probably the biggest ever hit at Belmont.

It was all the more remarkable because while initially Waller might have thought the game was already up when he began his hitting spree, the pressure would have mounted as he and willing teenager John Matchett drew CI ever closer to the finishing line with an incredible 91-run stand for the ninth wicket.

CI had been on their knees chasing Lisburn’s 249 for nine. Four wickets for Craig Ervine had helped reduce the home side to 67 for five, 103 for six and later 158 for eight.

But with Waller peppering the boundary and Matchett defiant the tension grew until the latter was caught at mid-off with the scores level in the final over.

Stephen Hughes, the veteran bowler, kept his head, steering David Simpson through the covers to complete one of the most unlikely wins of recent years.

Earlier, Darryl Brown must have thought he had played the innings of the day. The Lisburn professional dragged his team back from the perils of 165 for eight as he dominated a 81-run stand with Richard McConkey.

The South African reached his century in 82 balls, with his second 50 coming off just 18. The last two overs were pummelled for 41 but remarkably it wasn’t enough.

It was much more routine for Waringstown and North Down with the villagers easing to a six-wicket win over Muckamore and North Down thrashing Ballymena by eight wickets.

Richard Keates top scored with 39 and Phil Eaglestone took three wickets as Muckamore scraped 176 for nine at The Lawn.

James Hall then blasted 38 from 31 balls and professional Shaheen Khan slammed an unbeaten 57 from 44. He struck eight fours and a six as Waringstown cruised home with more than 22 overs to spare.

James Cameron-Dow took four for 38 to restrict Ballymena to just 168 all out at The Green. Steve Lazars top scored with 59 including seven fours and a six.

Johnny Terrett and captain Ryan Haire added 131 for the second wicket with Haire’s 81 coming off just 52 balls. He struck 10 fours and three sixes. Terrett’s unbeaten half century contained five fours and a six.