A 98-run partnership between Marc Ellison and Andre Malan helped CSNI record a three-wicket Robinson Services Premier League victory over Waringstown at The Lawn on Saturday.
Having won the toss and elected to bat first, Waringstown were reduced to 44-5 with opening bowlers Malan and Graeme McCarter taking two early wickets apiece.
The home side rebuilt through captain Greg Thompson (66) and Kyle McCallan (32), with the former really starting to up the run-rate and score with freedom after digging in early in his innings when walking to the crease in a precarious position. Thompson once again proved his class and continued his brilliant season to date, and showed it doesn’t matter what sort of situation he finds himself in, he is able to adjust and was the shining light for his side once again.
The game changed when he was ran out after a mix-up with McCallan, ending a sixth wicket partnership of 93, and Waringstown finished on 174 all out after 46.3 overs. In reply, James Mitchell claimed the early wicket of Archie Johnston but that brought Malan (42) to the crease, who along with Ellison (57) was scoring at a quick tempo and the pair broke the back of CSNI’s chase before Phil Eaglestone claimed them both in quick succession.
The Belfast side lost a further four wickets as they got over the line with Morgan Topping (29*) playing a knock of maturity and finished the game off with a towering straight six to compound Waringstown to a third consecutive defeat.
Ellison has started the season in fine form for both club and the Northern Knights, and while he was pleased with his contribution to the win, was equally disappointed to not see the job through.
“It’s nice to get another fifty, but I judge myself either on not outs chasing or hundreds, so I wanted to be there at the end,” he said. “It’s disappointing but there was enough good stuff before that. I thought today was a tricky total. Based on how the wicket played when they batted, I thought if we just hung in there it would be a tight game so I wanted to be a bit more positive. Thankfully I got a few out of the middle and Andre and I shared another enjoyable partnership.
“We were both disappointed to not get closer to the total, but it’s always good when the lower order gets you through and it’s good for the team’s confidence.”
The victory means CSNI now leapfrog Waringstown into third position in the league table, and Ellison was delighted to pick up four points against a side he hasn’t came out on the winning side against too often.
“We haven’t came here too often and picked up four points in the league over the past 10-15 years,” he added. “We are certainly very conscious that we underperformed in the league last season. We have done well chasing this season and are well-led up front by our seamers. If Andre and Graeme aren’t difficult enough to face, then you bring on Fozzy and while he mightn’t have been at his best today, his spell last Sunday was superb. Ben Adair is also in some really good form with the ball. It was a really enjoyable day.”
James Kennedy’s side will now be eagerly awaiting tonight’s Gallagher Challenge Cup semi-final draw where they will find out their opponents for a July 20 showdown as they look to make a second consecutive final.
“Making the final last year and losing just leaves a bit of unfinished business in the mind,” said Ellison. “We are certainly keen to keep progressing in that and the beauty of the competition is that you have to beat the best teams to win it, so it doesn’t really matter who we get. We are hopeful to win another game and have another day out at Comber later in the season.”