A superb unbeaten century by Jamie Holmes helped Carrickfergus romp to an eight-wicket win at North Down in their opening Premier League match of the season.
Chasing a North Down total of 247 for 5, Holmes and his Carrick colleagues made light of the target on a belter of a track to race to the win with an incredible 10 overs to spare. Holmes hit 12 fours and three sixes in his unbeaten 118 at just better than a run a ball, sharing century stands with Iain Parkhill and new South African pro Pat Botha.
After the early loss of Michael Gilmour, Holmes dominated a 135-run partnership with Parkhill who did an excellent job in rotating the strike to allow him as much of the bowling as possible, as Carrick raced to 147 for 1 in 29 overs. When Parkhill was stumped for 39, Carrick were left to get just 101 in the remaining 21 overs.
Holmes then had to be content to play second fiddle as Botha introduced himself to Irish cricket with a boundary laden 62 not out which took just 42 balls and included 8 fours and, 2 sixes as the pair added an unbroken 105 in just 68 balls. The North Down attack were found wanting, as Carrick hammered 28 runs off Mulder’s final over to ease to victory with 10 overs and 8 wickets to spare.
Earlier, the North Down top four all scored 50s, but only Ally Shields was able to score at a rate that would have set Carrick a total that might have been defendable. Shields struck three sixes and one four in his 50 not out from 34 balls, but his colleagues Ross Ewing (53), Jacob Mulder (65) and professional Pieter Malan (52) were all more sedate.
Ryan Eagleson bowled steadily to claim 2 for 32, while Botha showed his all-round capabilities to claim 3 for 49 including the vital wicket of his opposite number Malan before he had cut loose, and Ashwin Shetty although wicketless bowled very well towards the end of the innings to help contain the home side to a below par total on a superb batting track.
North Down 247/5 (50 overs; J Mulder 65, R Ewing 53, P Malan 52, A Shields 50no, P Botha 3-49, R Eagleson 2-32)
Carrickfergus 252/2 (40 overs; J Holmes 118no, P Botha 62no, I Parkhill 39)
Carrickfergus won by 8 wickets