Greer: We are back in the mix

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“WE ARE back in the mix,” said Templepatrick skipper, Richard Greer, after picking up maximum eight points from two weekend Senior League fixtures.

“That takes our total up to 12 points, and lifts us to a more respectable mid-table position in NCU Section 2, above Saintfield, Drumaness, Portadown and BISC.”

On Saturday afternoon Saintfield were the victims at The Cloughan where Greer’s lads triumphed by the hefty margin of 78 runs, and, on Sunday, BISC didn’t fare any better when they were beaten by an equally impressive five wickets.

When the Saintfield skipper won the toss he opted to bowl, but he lived to regret this decision when the home side rattled up the fine total of 217 for nine in their 50 overs.

Chris Busby top-scored with 56, and received sound support from Greer (37) and James Jackson (21), while Jay Hunter - who was on the Ulster Schools’ side this summer - continued his good vein of form with 37.

In reply, the County Down lads were restricted to 139 scored in 44.2 overs. Rhydian Davies spearheaded the attack with three for 15 off 10, with support from Robert Smith two for 24 off 10, Jackson two for 29 off 10, Busby one for 23 off eight and Phil Kernaghan one for 28 off seven.

Smith also had a marvellous run-out when he scored a direct hit on the stumps from the covers.

“This was one of our best batting displays of the season, and during the tea interval we reckoned that we had enough runs on the board for victory, and then the bowlers did the business in style to clinch the win with almost six overs to spare,” added Greer.

Sunday’s clash with BISC was scheduled to be played at Mallusk, but was witched to The Cloughan where Templepatrick were always in control after bowling out the visitors for a modest 128 in 38.4 overs.

Once again, Kernaghan (three for 14 off six), Smith (two for 29 off nine), Davies (two for 31 off nine) and Busby (one for eight) were among the wickets, and there was a successful senior debut for 14-year-old Ryan McIlwaine, a promising spinner, who returned one for 22 off six.

Hunter was again in sparkling form with the bat, and his 54 not-out, along with Mark Thompson’s 22 not-out, saw the home side reach a match-winning 132 for five in 27 overs.

Prolific scorer, Artie Campbell has been short of runs this season after receiving a knee injury while playing for Ballyclare Rugby Club in the McCambley Cup final, but he seemed in good nick while compiling 32 on this occasion.

Saturday’s clash with leaders Armagh at The Mall will be billed as the Section 2 Match of the Day.

Armagh are currently 10 points clear in pole position with only one defeat to date, so the Templepatrick lads will have to be at their best with a win likely to leap-frog them in to the top three.

After being soundly beaten by nine wickets in the semi-final of the Intermediate Cup by Lurgan II on Saturday, David McWilliams’ 2nd XI bounced back to pick up the Junior League Section 2 points on Sunday at the expense of Cregagh II.

A win was on the cards when the city side were limited to 121 for eight. Niall Dalton and Jason Brien each took two wickets, while Stephen Boyd and Jordi Fettis had one each, and there were two run-outs.

Fettis was Templepatrick’s star batsman with an unbeaten 68, while skipper McWilliams contributed a significant 37 in the winning reply of 122 for two.

This weekend the 2nd and 3rd XIs have home fixtures against Armagh II and Derriaghy IV, respectively.