Slick Waringstown back on top after crucial win over rivals

Waringstown opener James McCollum reaches the 50 mark against North Down. Pics by Presseye.
Waringstown opener James McCollum reaches the 50 mark against North Down. Pics by Presseye.

Waringstown are back on top of the NCU Premier League table after a fine all-round performance toppled previous leaders North Down at Comber on Saturday.

The villagers performed superbly with bat and ball as they won a hard-fought game by 53 runs.

Just about everyone contributed to the victory, which had looked like it was going to come easily after North Down slumped to 28 for four in pursuit of Waringstown’s imposing 265 for eight.

Professional Ruhan Pretorius and Phil Eaglestone, the pace bowlers, produced some of the finest swing bowling of the season to rip through the North Down batting.

Pretorius accounted for Daniel Graham in the second over, the opener bowler after offering no stroke, and Andrew Sutherland followed, trapped plumb in front.

Eaglestone was every bit as dangerous and he got the prize scalp of professional Pieter Malan, the South African beaten all ends up as he edged a beauty to Jonathan Bushe behind the stumps.

When Alistair Shields followed, bowled by Pretorius (3-28) playing no shot, North Down were in the mire and then Peter Shields, in the same over, was dropped at slip, a simple chance going down. Shields made the most of his let-off, adding 78 with Taimur Khan (37) for the fifth wicket.

However with Kyle McCallan (3-26) was key for Waringstown, and although North Down continued to battle hard, the asking rate went up to 11 runs per over.

North Down went down swinging, all out for 212 and Waringstown had a precious four points, especially with their run-rate considerably better than their closest rivals.

Earlier in the day James Hall and James McCollum laid the foundations with a 129-run stand for the first wicket.

Hall’s 50 came in just 51 balls while McCollum struck six boundaries in his 67.

Four Waringstown wickets fell for 21 runs before a rain break, all of them to Khan and when Pretorius dragged one on immediately after the resumption, the visitors were teetering on 176 for five.

Khan finished with five for 34, but with his spell over, Greg Thompson and David Dawson made hay in a 64-run partnership in little more than eight overs.

Thompson had initially been circumspect against Khan, but opened his shoulders in familiar fashion, hitting three fours and a six in his 37 while Dawson hit 33 from just 27 balls including two fours and two sixes.