Carrickfergus off to a winning start
A brilliant unbeaten 80 runs from Daniel Poulton on his NCU Premier League debut saw Carrickfergus win their first match of the season when they beat Muckamore by a narrow 1 wicket margin at Middle Road on Saturday
Earlier in the day Carrick’s new skipper Pat Botha had won the toss and asked the visitors to bat first, and they took full advantage of some wayward bowling early on, racing to 31 off the first 3 overs. Anthony Martin then struck with two wickets and things began to settle down as Drummond and Rapulana added 29 runs in 11 overs. Alex Haggan who bowled a very accurate 10 overs in which he conceded only 16 runs, took the first of his 3 wickets when he bowled opener Drummond for 42. South African professional Rapulana then shared in forty run partnerships with Haire and Stephenson and at 162 for 5 with 8 overs remaining Muckamore looked on for a score well in excess of 200, but the Carrick bowlers stuck to their task and were satisfied at restricting them to 194 for 9 at the end of their 50 overs.
After the loss of two early wickets, Jack Burton and Jamie Holmes saw the fifty up for Carrick in the 18th over, before Burton became the third wicket to fall when he was bowled for 17. Holmes and Botha looked to be taking the game away from the visitors, when they added a further 42 runs in the space of the next 5 overs. However, the game then took another turn when both Carrick’s danger men were dismissed in successive overs by Muckamore’s spinners. First Botha was bowled by Hussain for 14, and then Holmes who had been playing well for his 41 runs which included 3 sixes, was caught at square leg, to reduce Carrick to 92 for 5. Alex Haggan fell soon afterwards and they were up against it, still requiring 89 runs with only 4 wickets now remaining. Young South African newcomer Daniel Poulton was joined at the wicket by seasoned campaigner Ryan Eagleson, and the pair batted Carrick right back into the game when they added 71 runs in 18 overs. Eagleson, who had been prepared to play a supporting role as Poulton punished the Muckamore bowling with a series of boundaries, was finally out in the 45th over, with his side by now requiring only 18 runs for victory. Poulton hit another four and a six but he was running out of partners as Carrick lost two further wickets, bringing number eleven Anthony Martin to the crease with 8 runs still needed. He only had to face one ball, then Poulton finished the match with another four and a six off the first and third balls of the 49th over. He finished unbeaten on 80, his match winning innings coming off 74 balls, and containing eight fours and five sixes.