County pass 'Tarf test with flying colours
North County didn't enjoy the best of starts to the new season last week as they were soundly beaten by Merrion, but they were much better on Saturday against Clontarf as they claimed a 31-run victory.
Clontarf travelled to The Inch with confidence high following an opening-day victory over The Hills and having lost the toss they were put in to field on a fine day in Balrothery.
Niall McGovern and Jamie Grassi opened for North County and the duo reached 20 before McGovern was clean bowled by David Delany in the fifth over.
New signing Malcom Nofal joined Grassi at the crease at that stage and the duo helped North County pass the 60 mark before Nofal was caught by Declan Gallagher following a teasing delivery by Conor Kelly.
Grassi, now with Jonathan Andrews as his partner, continued to frustrate the Clontarf bowlers with some excellent hitting and he stylishly brought up his 50 with a nonchalant flick of his wrists as he claimed his ninth four of the innings.
Grassi didn't hang around for too much longer, however, as he was caught by Shariful Islam after going for a big one from an Abraham Pienaar delivery when on 59.
Thomas Sheil and Adam Coughlan followed soon afterwards to swing the match back in Clontarf's favour, with North County suddenly struggling on 141/5.
However, an excellent partnership from Jonathan Andrews and Andrew Sheridan saw both men help North County pass the 200 mark before Andrews was run out by Islam when on 76.
Sheridan's second six of a fine innings brought him to 65 before he was also run out by Islam.
That stellar contribution from both Andrews and Sheridan helped North County record a daunting target of 262 for Clontarf to chase.
The visitors didn't enjoy the best of starts to that chase, with both openers Declan Gallagher and Bill Coghlan dismissed within the first five overs.
Third man in Waqar Asmat was soon walking back to the pavilion as he went for a duck following an excellent delivery from Andrew Sheridan.
A fine 77 from Abraham Pienaar got Clontarf back on track as they reached 120 for the loss of three wickets, but they were then derailed as Malcolm Nofal and Adam Coughlan claimed two wickets apiece in the space of just four overs to help North County claim victory.
North County: Niall McGovern, Jamie Grassi, Malcolm Nofal, Jonathan Andrews, Tomas Sheil, Adam Coughlan, Andrew Sheridan, Conor Sheil, Cian Mulvaney, Sean Kingston, Owen Graham.