Templepatrick Cricket Club’s 1st XI are up to joint-second Section 2 of the Northern Cricket Union.
Ricky Greer’s men enjoyed wins over Millpark and Drumaness which moves them level with Armagh and Laurelvale, and just behind leaders Cooke Collegians, who were, surprisingly, beaten by bottom side BISC on Sunday.
With two teams to be promoted, it looks like there will be a tight finish to the season, and this weekend’s game away to Laurelvale could be crucial for Templepatrick, who have eight wins from 12 starts.
Saturday’s game against Millpark was played at Hollinger Park and when skipper Greer won the toss, he decided to bat. Robert Smith was on top form and went on to make a fine 58, but, after 25 of the allocated 50 overs the home team had made 92 for the loss of four wickets.
There was a batting collapse after this and the team was bowled out for just 131, which, at the time, never looked to be enough. But, at this stage, there was a stoppage for rain and the Duckworth-Lewis method was applied to set a target of 128 for Millpark in 45 overs.
After 20 overs Millpark seemed to be well placed at 50 for two but great work by Jordan Carlisle in the field, made a stumping chance for Jay Hunter. A spell of tight bowling from Robert Smith also slowed up the visitors.
A couple of wickets from Jordi Fettis helped to take it to 80-4, and the game was still in the melting pot. The home bowlers, again, turned the screw with a wicket for Phil Kernaghan and a couple from Rhyddian Davies in one over.
Then, Jordi Fettis took two wickets in the next over and Millpark were all-out for 121.
Amazingly, they had lost four wickets in only 10 balls, scoring just eight runs to give Templepatrick a narrow win.
On Sunday the game away to Drumaness was switched to The Cloughan, due to the Co Down venue being unplayable. Again, home captain Greer won the toss and he put his own team in to bat on an improving wicket.
There was a great opening partnership worth 50 runs as Chris Busby (20) and Jay Hunter (75) dominated the Drumaness bowling. Greer then came in and hit a brisk 35 before a middle-order collapse made it 155-6.
Experienced batsmen Phil Kernaghan (43) and Andy McCrea (20 not-out) put on 55 to make it 221-8 which was a big target for the visitors.
Very accurate early bowling by Kernaghan (2-14) and Rhyddian Davies (3-15) had Drumaness under pressure and well below the required run-rate.
Smith, with 3-12, helped bring the end closer, while Carlisle took 1-20 as well as a great run-out by Chris Busby. Drumaness were all-out for just 98, giving Templepatrick a win by 123 runs.
Peter Shepherd’s 3rd XI appeared to be staring relegation in the face after last week, but they threw themselves a lifeline with a win on Saturday at the Cloughan against Muckamore 4ths.
They did well to reach a total of 152, with top scorer Michael Stevenson making 50, supported by David Clarke on 35. Muckamore were bowled out for 80, to give the Thirds a win by 72 runs. They have two games to play and victories could prevent relegation.
Weekend fixtures: Saturday - 1st XI v Laurelvale (away); 2nd XI v Laurelvale 2nds (home); Sunday - 1st XI v Millpark (away).