Armagh’s campaign in the Lagan Valley Steels T20 competition came to an end on Friday night with another defeat to Instonians after a hugely encouraging performance with the ball and in the field was backed up by a special innings from professional Shadley van Schalkwyk who hit a memorable unbeaten century.
The home side batted first and racked up 155-6 in their twenty overs despite wickets for Van Schalkwyk, Wright, two for the excellent Doyle and one each for the spinners Hoey and Gelston thanks to tidy work behind the stumps from wicketkeeper McCarter.
The target was an imposing one certainly and Instonians pace attack were making regular breakthroughs in the Armagh batting. Undeterred, Van Schalkwyk moved steadily through the gears and found support from Boyd, Doyle and then Wright.
The home side became increasingly nervous as the runs required deceased and as the South African star recorded a fantastic century.
Alas, Armagh had left themselves with just too much to do as Instonians prevailed by just seven runs but there could be no doubt who was the star of the proceedings with an unbeaten 111.
Armagh finished their T20 campaign with 5 defeats and one no-result from the six group games but the improvement and competitiveness of the team was clear to see in most of the games.
Hopefully that can be carried through to the difficult Premier League campaign.
Another hard day for Armagh
Saturday saw another heavy defeat for Armagh in the Robinson Services Premier League as a solid effort with the ball could not be backed up with the bat as the team crumbled again.
Despite the glorious weather conditions and the Mall looking absolutely superb, returning Armagh captain Matthew Steenson invited CSNI to bat first after winning the toss and was rewarded early on when the in-form Northern Knights representative New Zealander Ellison was brilliantly caught at slip by Neil Gelston off the bowling of Van Schalkwyk.
Armagh’s professional also accounted for Cowden clean bowled before Gelston struck a huge breakthrough when he had the oppositions aggressive South African professional Andre Malan smartly caught by Harry Doyle.
Unfortunately further wickets were hard to come by for the home team as visiting skipper Kennedy built a strong partnership of 101 with Armagh local A.Wright who has CSNI as his latest club.
The latter was well caught and bowled by Michael Hoey who also bowled McMorran as a fair reward for a disciplined spell of bowling, the same could be said for Gelston’s ten overs of spin.
Wickets continued to tumble at the other end to Kennedy with Armagh keeper Gareth McCarter taking a brilliant tumbling catch to remove his namesake Graeme and give Harry Doyle a wicket that his efforts richly deserved.
From here on in the death overs it was the Van Schalkwyk show as he claimed another three scalps to give him a well-earned 5-for as CSNI totalled 220-9 in their 50 overs, with Kennedy unbeaten on 75.
Armagh were hopefully that this would be an obtainable target but that optimism was soon done away with as the seam bowling of the CSNI attack brought instant rewards with professional Malan and former Ireland and Gloucester player McCarter getting tremendous movement out of the Mall pitch.
Only Gelston in the top order was able to show any real resistance as four of the top 6 were dismissed without scoring. Graeme McCarter finished a quite fantastic spell of bowling claiming 4 wickets for just 12 runs in his eight overs.
Harry Boyd, Doyle and Hoey also showed some gritty resistance down the order but the damage had been done early in the Armagh response and the final score of 88 all out in just 30 overs was a disappointing effort as CSNI claimed a comfortable win by the margin of 132 runs.
CSNI 220-9 Kennedy 75no. Van Schalkwyk 5-41. Armagh 88 all out. Gelston 32 McCarter 4-12. CSNI win by 132 runs.
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