Bangor entertained Cregagh in round 5 of the Robinson’s NCU Section 1. When I say Bangor entertained, it was largely Burns providing the entertainment once more, as Bangor ran out 7 wicket winners in the second one-sided match of the week.
Bangor, who have been sitting top of the league ahead of neighbours Holywood on run rate for a couple of weeks, called incorrectly again as newly promoted Cregagh wisely decided to bat first on a dry but flat pitch.
After a delay due to some heavy downpours, play got under way in a match reduced to 41 overs. Regular pair Khan and Nixon opened the attack and made a good start, with the latter bowling Smyth for 3. M. Johnston joined Simpson at the crease as the pair struggled against accurate and at times, hostile bowling. Johnston was fortunate not to be out second ball, as the wind caught a skier making for a very difficult chance to mid-off. Simpson, who tried to hit a few homers, swung at a lot of deliveries, but failed to connect as the batsmen put on 75, but at a pedestrian pace of 4 an over. With the lightning fast outfield, true wicket and the home-side’s batting prowess, this run-rate simply wasn’t going to cut the mustard.
Kwelu replaced the tidy Prince up the hill and removed both set batsmen in the space of two balls, leaving Cregagh 84-3 after 22 overs. The remaining 19 overs went the way of Bangor as Miller bowled exceptionally, taking 3 for 20 off his 9. Mention must also go to Khan who reported figures of 2 for 19, and Kwelu who snaffled 3 key wickets for 31. Amongst the tidy bowling, Khan rolled back the years with an athletic catch to dismiss Moore at cover. The one blip was Bates, who picked up a quadricep injury whilst fielding and seems a doubt to make nets on Thursday. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Rewinding a little, the highlight of the bowling innings was once more an outstanding catch from Adam McCusker. He is undoubtedly the best fielder in the league, and possibly Ireland. Adam, who fields wherever the ball is most likely to go, was stationed at long-on as Cregagh tried to accelerate their innings with some bottom-handed slogs. Luckily Adam ran about 40 yards to his left, plucking the ball inches from the ground taking a catch only he could. He is a huge asset to the side.
Cregagh were all out in the final over for a below par 165. Credit the bowlers who only recorded 2 wides in the entire innings, despite starting with a damp ball, and battling against a strong wind throughout.
Bangor started their innings at the ridiculous time of 6pm. This sort of situation has to be addressed, but that’s for another time; possibly the year 2035. Patrick Dixon, was updating the masses of supporters online, who were tuning in to see how many 6s Burns would record. He had to charge his phone twice. Special mention must be made to Paddy who selflessly commits his Saturdays to score for the 1st Xl. He is the MVP every week.
Burns walked out with Mark English to rekindle an old partnership, as McCollum was still away. The pair complimented each other perfected, as one played the anchor role, whilst the other smashed it to all parts; there are literally no prizes for guessing who did what. Burns was faced with a barrage of a sledging, but some friendly spin and medium pace that is meat and drink to him. A contradiction that doesn’t really add up. The one thing that was adding up was the Bangor score, as Chris continued to annihilate Cregagh’s attack. You can run out of superlatives for his batting, but it’s really good. When he was out, poking a ball to mid-wicket for 70, Bangor were 103-1 off 16 overs. It was reassuring to see his anger at being dismissed showing his hunger for more.
Nixon joined English as the pair, who could barely hear each other due to the Australian Moore at first slip, went about ticking off the runs. English was bowled for a well-made 26 to the impressive youngster McCormick, perhaps the only shining light in a bleak day for the visitors. Khan came and went, again to McCormick, leaving Nixon and McCusker to knock off the remaining 45 runs for victory, which they did with a flurry of boundaries much to the delight of Adam’s dad, and BCC stalwart, Dave McCusker.
Bangor continue to sit at the top of the table but have two tough tasks next weekend with an away fixture to the new-look Holywood side, and a well-drilled Downpatrick outfit. These will be the litmus tests for the Seasiders.