NCU chief Andy Clement praises cricket family for uniting behind Carrickfergus wicketkeeper Gordon Browne

Carrick pair Steven Grant and Ryan Eagleson at the crease
Carrick pair Steven Grant and Ryan Eagleson at the crease

NCU chairman Andy Clement praised the cricket family for uniting behind Gordon Browne after the Carrickfergus player had to be rushed to hospital after collapsing.

At Moylena, Muckamore faced Carrickfergus in the quarter-finals of the Arthur J Gallagher Challenge Cup.

As Carrickfergus bowler Anthony Martin ran in to bowl the final ball of the first over, he suddenly pulled up as wicketkeeper Browne collapsed.

Muckamore were holding a ‘Ladies Day’ and festival which attracted a large crowd, fortunately the attendees included a doctor and medical staff which ensured Browne received immediate attention.

After a lengthy delay while an ambulance took the player to Antrim hospital, play resumed, but when conflicting reports emerged on his condition it was apparent that the Carrickfergus team understandably were in no state to continue.

Opposing captains Neil Gill from Muckamore and counterpart Iain Parkhill spoke briefly and agreed to abandon the game – a decision endorsed by the umpires.

On Saturday evening Carrickfergus issued a statement praising the actions of the Muckamore club and match officials.

A Carrick spokesperson said yesterday: “Gordon remains in hospital and is being monitored by medical staff, however the good news is that he has been on Facebook paying tribute to those who assisted and appears comfortable.

“We would like to thank all at the ground, particularly the quick actions of the medical staff. Cricket obviously is secondary to Gordon’s health at the moment but as a club we will not be seeking to take advantage of the situation and shall accept without complaint whatever decision the NCU reach on the outcome of the fixture.”

NCU Chairman Andy Clement, a former player at Muckamore, had been watching the game.

He said: “My first thoughts are for the player and his family, we wish Gordon a full and speedy recovery.

“It was encouraging to see the well wishes from other clubs and individuals being posted on social media in the immediate aftermath, a great example of the cricket family uniting.

“Regarding the game, obviously as a Union we will be discussing this imminently and will release a statement regarding our decision at the earliest possible opportunity.”

The options available include a continuation of the current game or ordering a complete replay.

On the field Muckamore appeared to be on the verge of a shock result as a Ryan Haire hat-trick reduced Carrick to 117-7 before finally setting a target of 159.

Meanwhile, over at Stormont the fireworks came from Craig Lewis.

Derriaghy slumped to 76-7 chasing 229 for victory; when Lewis launched a solo campaign to keep his side’s hopes alive.

His 98 included 6x6’s and 8x4’s, combined with three wickets earlier this secured the Arthur J Gallagher MOM award but CSNI prevailed by 56 runs, thanks to a 126 run partnership between Andrew Cowden (74) and Jason van der Merwe (64)

Nigel Jones (88no) won the individual award as CIYMS crushed Downpatrick by 183 runs.

Justin Kemp with 63 and John Matchett (47) were the other contributors to a total of 266.

Downpatrick found an opening attack of Johnny Thompson (3-11), Allen Coulter (2-20) followed by Kemp (2-16) and Jones somewhat sharper than the usual Saturday fare in Section One; effectively it was a procession to 83 all out.