Downpatrick were greeted to Upritchard Park by one of the best wickets in the NCU, as well as a pristine outfield that was recently undergone drainage work to ensure it endures the inevitable mid-season deluge. Once again, Stephen Burns’ work did not go unnoticed as both teams made it clear that they wanted to bat first if the coin fell their way.
Fortunately for home skipper Chris Burns, Downpatrick captain Ross Boultwood called incorrectly, allowing Bangor to make first use of the surface that looked like a German motorway; so well maintained, so flat, and so fast. The only thing quicker was the Bangor start as Burns went about showing everyone his immense talent. His partner, Nicky McCollum, had the best seat in the house for the first 16 overs as Chris hit boundary after boundary, each speeding to the rope like a Supercar on the aforementioned Autobahn. McCollum had the odd moment of aggression too, hitting a 47m six off Boultwood.
The dismissal of Burns for a blistering 58 brought Nixon to the crease causing the run-rate to slow as he and Nicky went about rebuilding the innings. The slower bowlers of Downpatrick were certainly more difficult to get away, with the Bangor batsmen McCollum, Nixon, McCusker and McLarnon all supporting Burns with scores of around 40. Bangor finished on 234-7; yet another score of over 220 to make it four in a row for 2018.
After a high carbohydrate tea, necessary due to the energy-sapping sunshine that bathed Upritchard park, was logged into MyFitness Pal the Bangor outfit went about defending the par score against an experienced side. Khan was first to strike, trapping Mullan LBW for 9, before removing Boultwood for 2; a day he would rather forget. At the other end, Prince was keeping it tight with his wily away-swinging deliveries. He is perhaps the most improved cricketer in the BT19 area over the last 12 months which is very pleasing for the Bangor faithful. Wickets continued to fall, as youngsters Simpson and Pyper dismissed batsmen over twice their age showing their incredible promise.
Unfortunately for Bangor, their thorn in the side, as it so often is, was Craig Boultwood who batted with skill and maturity, rotating the strike with ease. For every ounce of talent and power Burns possesses, Craig matches it in experience and maturity. Craig finished on 87* to round off a 3 wicket victory for Downpatrick.