Waringstown keep noses in front in tense race to the title

James McCollum in action for Waringstown
James McCollum in action for Waringstown

Waringstown remain out in front in the Ulster Bank NCU Premier League title race after a crushing win over CIYMS at The Lawn on Saturday.

The villagers won by 134 runs after a fine batting and bowling performance against the Belmont club, who were one of their fellow title challengers.

James McCollum continued his superb form with 65 although CI will rue the missed chance to run him out in just the fifth over when he and opening partner James Hall were stuck at the same end.

The chances afforded to Lee Nelson when he was 34 and 36, both spurned by the sub fielder, were even more costly as the Waringstown captain plundered 126.

He and McCollum added 104 for the third wicket though there was a pedestrian period between the 25th and 35th overs when just 29 runs were scored.

At 128 for two after 35 overs, the villagers were behind the eight-ball but Nelson shook off the lethargy with an assault on Mulder and Greg Thompson’s arrival in the 39th over sparked an upping of the ante, as it so often does.

Thompson, dropped at point when he was just 12, went to smash 35 from just 26 balls, including two fours and two sixes.

CI just couldn’t bowl to Nelson in the latter overs, his 126 taking just 123 balls and containing 10 fours and four sixes. With the last 15 overs yielding 138 runs, Waringstown posted 273 for five.

Chris Dougherty and John Matchett began brightly before an inexplicable two-over spell saw them collapse to 26 for three. Matchett missed a straight one from James Mitchell and then Dougherty gave Kyle McCallan the first of three wickets with a cross-bat slog.

With Jeremy Bray dragging his foot out of his ground in the same over and Jonathan Bushe completing the stumping, CI all but out of contention.

The run-out of Steven Clarke in a farcical mix-up with Nathan Waller made it 64 for four and it was 85 for five when the latter was held just inches from the boundary line by Adam Dennison off Thompson.

Sam Wilson, the teenager, claimed his first three senior wickets as CI were dismissed for 129.