Two T20 refixes were played this evening on the North side of the city with both travelling sides emerging victorious to take themselves to the top of their respective league tables.
Starting in The Hills for the BUAKIT Premier League clash, they hosted Merrion and having won the toss the home side elected to make first use of the pitch. Merrion were without Tuesday night's hero Danny Forkin, as well as opening bowler Max Neville but their side was still littered with options.
Tom Stanton opened the innings with Jamie MacNulty, with the Merrion skipper accounting for Cormac McLoughlin-Gavin stumped in the final over of the PowerPlay. Amish Sidhu then accounted for both Lakhotia and Commins meaning The Hills could only muster 42/3 at the halfway point, a big 10 overs were needed to allow them reach a winning score.
Whilst the scoring rate accelerated, an excellent spell in tandem between Jack Carty (3/21) and Max Sorenson (2/18) saw Merrion restrict their hosts to just 102 all out in the 20th over.
Carty was again joined at the top of the order by Stephen Doheny, and the pair set about breaking the back of the run chase, the score reaching 61 before the left hander was caught and bowled by Jonathan Tall for 35. When Doheny was caught behind from Sameer Dutt's bowling just 5 balls later, there was half a chance of a collapse.
Merrion however were able to rely on another solid, experienced pair in Michael Lewis (12*) and John Anderson (27*) calmly took apart the remaining 40 runs needed, completing the chase inside 16 overs for an 8 wicket victory.
Meanwhile at Inch, home side North County also won the toss and also elected to bat first. Scores in the twenties from skipper Eddie Richardson and Andrew Sheridan were the best anyone on their side could manage as they made what would ordinarily in North County be deemed a below-par 123/8 from their 20 overs.
Andrew Darroch was the pick of the bowlers for Balbriggan, taking 2/11 from his four overs, whilst no fewer than 5 bowlers took a wicket each as everyone who bowled in the innings dismissed a batsman. The one wicket not to fall to a bowler being Chris De Freitas' vital run out of John Mooney early in the piece.
Balbriggan's response began slowly, Connor Fletcher and Ghanim Dara had moved the score to just 9 before the wicket-keeper was bowled for a duck. Dara and Farooq Nasr then progressed the score to 48 before both fell on that number 7 balls apart.
Skipper Greg Ford was joined at the crease by De Freitas, and the pair added just another 16 before the latter fell, Balbriggan were 64/4 and needed 50 from 7 overs, far from an easy chase in these re-fixed games. Dylan Lues brought the score to 100 alongside Ford, before the former fell for 18.
The visitors required 24 from 14 balls when Andrew Darroch walked to the wicket, and just 7 balls later they were potentially staring down the barrel of a tricky last over. The left-hander however deposited the final ball of the penultimate over for 6, leaving his captain on strike with 5 needed to win. Ford proceeded to hammer two boundaries in the next four balls, finishing on 39* and taking his side to a 5 wicket win.
BUAKIT PREMIER LEAGUE
THE HILLS - 102/10, 19.5 overs (D Blignaut 25; J Carty 3/21, M Sorenson 2/18, A Sidhu 2/23)
MERRION - 103/2, 15.2 overs (J Carty 35, J Anderson 27*, S Doheny 22)
by 8 wickets
NORTH COUNTY - 123/8, 20 overs (E Richardson 26, A Sheridan 22; A Darroch 2/11)
BALBRIGGAN - 127/5, 19.4 overs (G Ford 39*, F Nasr 25; O Graham 2/15)
by 5 wickets