Blow for title hopes

WARINGSTOWN’S Premier League title hopes suffered a major blow as they suffered a shock seven-wicket defeat against CIYMS at Belmont on Saturday.

Against a team they beat by 246 runs in May, Waringstown produced their worst display of the campaign in Obus Pienaar’s final game before returning to South Africa.

In many respects, it was Groundhog Day for Waringstown, as a shoddy batting display echoed their defeat at Ballymena last month.

At least the initially damp pitch at Eaton Park offered an excuse of sorts that day, but there was nothing wrong with the surface at Belmont as Kyle McCallan’s side crumbled to 101 for six in 31 overs before rain halted their innings prematurely.

A poor weather forecast, and Waringstown’s previous experience of the perils of losing wickets while batting first when Duckworth-Lewis intervenes, should have ensured the visitors were on their guard.

But instead, after seeing off a potent opening spell from Peter Connell, the Waringstown batsmen proceeded to gift their wickets to a CI attack that offered few cheap scoring opportunities.

There was no fairytale farewell from Pienaar either, as he gloved the medium pace of Stephen Hughes to the wicketkeeper as he attempted a reverse sweep shot that has brought him so many runs this summer.

Initially, Duckworth-Lewis gave Waringstown some hope, because a CI batting line-up, dismissed for 71 and 122 in their last two innings, might not have relished chasing 127 in 31 overs. But another prolonged period of rain reduced the target to a straightforward 94 in 23.

Gulam Bodi, the South African professional, delivered his most important contribution yet in CI colours with a composed 44 from 46 balls, including four fours and a six, and CI got home with a comfortable 15 balls to spare.

Waringstown now have to bounce back against Instonians on Saturday in the Premier League