Parkhill’s men have fighting chance of Premier survival

Alex Haggan helped fire Carrickfergus to victory over Instonians.
Alex Haggan helped fire Carrickfergus to victory over Instonians.

Carrickfergus now have a great chance of remaining in the NCU Premier league after a narrow five-wicket victory, with only three balls to spare, over a strong Instonians side at Middle Road on Saturday.

With rain forecast for later in the day, Carrick captain Iain Parkhill won the toss and asked the visitors to bat first. And after losing an early wicket Smith and Iqbal scored steadily, taking 76 runs off 24 overs before Smith fell lbw to Kamtekar for 36.

The same pattern continued when James Shannon joined Iqbal, with a further 62 runs coming off the next 15 overs before Iqbal was caught at mid-off for a solid 58.

With Kamtekar conceding only 16 runs from his 10 overs, Instonians continued to find runs difficult to come by, and with four overs remaining, they had reached a fairly modest 163 for 5.

Former Irish international Shannon, having completed his 50, then embarked on a remarkable display of hitting, progressing to a superb 100 in only 16 balls - including six sixes.

The final four overs yielded on fewer than 66 runs, to leave a stunned Carrick chasing a formidable 229 for seven in their 50 overs. Ryan Eagleson ended up with three wickets for Carrick, with Alex Haggan taking two.

After losing a wicket to the third ball of their innings, Parkhill and Jon Ring laid a good foundation for Carrick’s run-chase when they added 71 runs for the second wicket, before Parkhill was bowled for 30 in the 21st over.

During the next 10 overs, Ring and Jamie Holmes took the score past the hundred mark when Ring hit a return catch to White, having contributed an excellent 60 runs off 78 deliveries.

Holmes was caught behind for 27 five overs later, and with Carrick on 136 for four off 35 overs, Kamtekar joined Eagleson at the wicket.

The experienced pair added a further 61 runs in a dozen overs when Kamtekar was bowled for 40 trying to push it along as Carrick now required an improbable 33 off the final three overs.

Eagleson hit 11 - including a huge six - off the first three balls of Rushe’s over, and Alex Haggan smashed the first ball he received out of the ground. Eighteen had come off the over and Carrick needed 12 from the final two.

A couple of singles came off the first two balls of Smith’s over, and then Haggan hit four and a six, leaving Carrick three short of victory.

Two dot balls followed to take it into the final over, but the unflappable Eagleson managed a two off the second ball of Iqbal’s over, and a single off the third to secure an invaluable four points for his side. Eagleson finished on 47 off 49 balls, while Haggan’s 18 came off only seven.

A win at bottom-of-the-table Ballymena on Saturday will secure another season of Premier League cricket for the Middle Road men.