Gilmour and Hornbuckle secure win for Carrickfergus
A brilliant 162 run 4thwicket partnership in only 20 overs between skipper Michael Gilmour and South African Neil Hornbuckle secured the points for Carrickfergus Cricket Club 1stXI, who charged to a convincing 6 wicket victory in their Robinsons Services Premier League match against North Down at Middle Road on Saturday.
The visitors won the toss and batted first, and Matthew McCord got Carrick off to an ideal start when he had opener Robinson caught behind off only the second ball of the innings. Anthony Martin struck with his first delivery at the other end with the vital wicket of skipper Alastair Shields, and then went on to rip through the Comber mens’ top order. He trapped opener Graham lbw, then bowled Eakin first ball with his next delivery, and in his next over he claimed his fourth wicket when Russell was bowled, to leave North Down in all sorts of trouble at 31 for 5 after 12 overs. However, South African professional Ruan Pretorius was still there and was joined by young Stuart Nelson, and the pair spearheaded a recovery for their side. In the space of 28 overs they added 126 runs, before Daniel Poulton finally achieved a breakthrough when he had Nelson caught behind by Max Burton for 48 for the first of his 3 wickets. Pretorius was run out just 3 runs short of his hundred, and in the end the visitors reached a total of 188 in their 50 overs.
In reply, the Carrick innings got off to a disastrous start, with three batsmen back in the pavilion with only 11 runs on the board. Neil Hornbuckle, the young South African batsman who is currently standing in for the injured Pat Botha, was then joined by captain Michael Gilmour, dropping down from his usual opening spot. The pair went on the offensive and entertained the sizeable Middle Road crowd enjoying the warm sunshine to a dazzling display of attacking strokeplay. Together they added 162 runs in the space of just 21 overs to take Carrick to within sight of victory. Hornbuckle was only one run short of what would have been a well deserved hundred, when he was caught at long on with his side by then just 15 runs short of victory. His 99 runs were scored off 82 deliveries, and contained 15 fours and one six. The win was achieved without further loss in the 29th over, with Gilmour still unbeaten on 76, his brilliant innings scored off just 53 balls with 9 fours and 2 sixes.