Waringstown ease into Challenge Cup last eight

James McCollum.
James McCollum.

Waringstown barely had to break sweat on Saturday as they progressed to the quarter-finals of the AJG Challenge Cup.

Lee Nelson’s eased past the challenge of Section One Ballymena by nine wickets at The Lawn.

Ballymena were relegated from the top flight last season and they never threatened on a day when both North Down and Instonians lost to teams a division below them.

Batting first in glorious conditions, Ballymena were soon in trouble as Waringstown professional Cobus Pienaar made the breakthrough.

However, nine of the wickets fell to slow bowlers.

James Hall (2-12) trapped Ballymena’s best batsman, James Kennedy, lbw for just three while Kyle McCallan was typically miserly, claiming 2-16 in his 10 overs.

Greg Thompson also got in on the wickets but it was captain Nelson who wrapped up the innings, dismissing the last four Ballymena batsmen at a cost of just 26 runs as they were all out for 111.

That total was never going to challenge Waringstown and openers James McCollum and James Hall (29) soon made major inroads into the total.

Hall was eventually caught and bowled but McCollum (38 no) and David Dawson (26 no) sealed a nine-wicket victory with an unbeaten 71-run stand for the second wicket.

The previous night a young Waringstown side suffered an agonising last-ball defeat to Instonians in the first group match of the Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 Cup.

Waringstown posted 168 for five batting first, with Adam Dennison playing a starring role with 68 and Pienaar adding a quickfire 37.

However, a full strength Instonians side looked to be in control as Andrew White made 68 and Neil Russell 32.

James Hall took two wickets to check their progress but despite a late wobble, they won by two wickets.

Waringstown travel to face winless North Down in the league on Saturday, weather permitting.

The ball sponsor for Saturday’s game is Derek Healy.