Smith’s men let Rush off the hook in National Cup

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Templepatrick let Leinster side Rush off the hook in the first round of the National Cup at The Cloughan on Saturday.

A home victory seemed to be there for the taking when the visitors were bowled out for 118, but a batting collapse handed the visitors an unlikely win by nine runs.

Spinners Michael Stewart (3 for 35) and skipper Robert Smith (4 for 13) made the most of the soft wicket, while paceman, Phil Kernaghan, made the initial breakthrough in returning figures of 3 for 11.

A second-wicket partnership of 88 between Smith (33) and overseas player Bob Homani (31) appeared to have laid the foundation for victory. Templepatrick needed only 31 more runs, with seven wickets in hand, to advance to the next round. However Rush bowlers tore through the middle order and the tail to emerge victorious.

“When I won the toss I had no hesitation in putting them in on a soft wicket and this decision seemed to have been vindicated when we dispatched them for a very modest total,” said Smith.

“We were odds-on favourites when Bob Homani and I took us to within sight of the tape, but then came an uncharacteristic collapse, and we threw it away. However, batting conditions were difficult; the ball was hard to get away, and there were very few boundaries but it was a disappointing result.”

This weekend TCC are Challenge Cup first-round action against Woodvale at The Cloughan.

The 2nd XI’s fixture against CSNI III in Junior League in Section 3 was postponed because of damp conditions at Stormont, but they are hoping to host Instonians III at Hollinger Park on Saturday.