For Instonians, that team is Carrickfergus as they had a fourth consecutive defeat against them at Middle Road on Saturday.
Carrick’s opening bat Michael Gilmour batted with complete freedom, racking up a half century. When he was third out for 56 (53 balls 6x4’s and 2x6’s) he had accounted for almost 80 per cent of the runs scored at that point.
On another day perhaps the visitors would have seized upon the opportunity and gone for the kill. Inst professional Rusty Theron seems to blow hot and cold and this was definitely a cold day - his 10 overs cost 65 runs and he followed that with an 8 ball duck.
Pat Botha on the other hand was warming to his task and he found a willing ally in Alex Haggan. The pair added 81, until both fell with the score on 190, Botha’s 65 came from 85 balls with 7 boundaries and Haggan, contributed an invaluable 34.
Again though Instonians failed to kick the door in, Ryan Eagleson made an unbeaten 23 from 19 balls, Carrick posting an imposing 248-7.
James Shannon and Nikolai Smith provided the perfect platform with 50 in 11 overs, but then it all shuddered to a halt as after Shannon’s departure both Andrew White and Theron quickly fell to Botha.
There was always hope whilst Smith, who top scored with 72 - seemingly thriving on the added responsibility of captaincy in a stellar personal campaign - remained; he and Stephen Bunting put on 87 in the next 17 overs. Once Eagleson, the league’s leading wicket taker, trapped Bunting lbw for 40 he scented blood and exposed the frailties of the Inst tail taking 5-38.
Having said that, Waringstown suffered their own calamity, their second successive loss involving the dreaded Duckworth Lewis. Certainly there can be few complaints over this one.
Batting first at home, they slid to 39-3 against North Down opening bowlers, Gavin McKenna and Pater Davison, then once Hall departed to Jacob Mulder for 39 it really was an uphill battle for runs.
Not for the first time Greg Thompson bailed them out with 75 from 101 balls and Marcus McClean showed he is not just a slogger with 25 from 23 balls without a boundary.
Danny Graham kept the momentum in the visitors’ favour with 25 from 26 balls. Gary Kidd picked up the wickets of Graham and Nathan Burns for 32.
When the rain brought a premature end giving North Down a 7 run victory he had 62 from 63 balls with 7x4’s and 2x6’s.