Following two defeats by Waringstown and Carrickfergus last week end, Lisburn again, find themselves in the Premier League relegation melting pot.
They have three wins while rivals Carrick and Ballymena have just recorded two and must still believe they can retain their Premier status with three matches remaining in the campaign.
The first defeat came at the hands of Waringstown last Friday evening when Lisburn were outplayed in the rearranged 20/20 game at The Lawn. The home side batted first and posted the more than useful score of 167 for 4 helped by a number of dropped catches at crucial times during their innings.
Professional, Ruhan Pretorious top scored with 64 not out off just 30 balls hitting five sixes and four boundaries in a very destructive innings. He was supported by James McCollum  and Lee Nelson giving the visitors a difficult task to grab the vital league points.
Unfortunately, Lisburn’s record of chasing totals in 20/20 cricket is far from impressive and they managed a paltry 86 and were beaten by 81 runs. Only Davey Simpson with 35 and Darryl Brown  gave any resistance as they were all out in the 18th over.
Lisburn then turned their attention to the Saturday match at Carrickfergus and were hopeful of repeating the heavy defeat they inflicted on them back in July and the early stages of the game saw the visitors totally dominate proceedings. Gilmour and Parkhill batted for nine overs before the Carrick top order batting was ‘blown away’.
First, Davey Simpson had Parkhill caught by Stevie Allen and then Callum Atkinson continued his great form from the game against CSNI. He proceeded to take four wickets in the next four overs including a hat trick. First he clean bowled Browne then had Holmes lbw next ball. The hat trick was achieved the following ball when he had Carrick professional Kamtekar clean bowled.
Callum’s fourth wicket was opener Gilmour in the 13th over and this reduced Carrick to 36 for 5 and things were looking good for Lisburn at this stage. However, the experience of Ryan Eagleson and his partner Ring. The pair steadied the Carrick innings with a stand of 42 in the next 16 overs as they took the sting out of the Lisburn bowling attack.
Eagleson batted stubbornly during this 6th wicket partnership before he was caught behind the wicket by Stevie Allen off Darryl Brown for 13 as Carrick reached 78 for 6 but worse was to come for Lisburn as Ring and number eight batsman Haggan completely changed the pattern of the match and swung it in Carrick’s favour.
The pair added a frustrating 93 for the 7th wicket with Lisburn seemingly unable to break the stand using five bowlers in the process. With Neil Doak making a brief appearance for the team it was strange that he did not bowl some overs of spin especially during the match changing stand.
Eventually Haggan was caught by Adam Berry off his brother Mark’s bowling in the 40 over but Carrick had progressed to 171 for 7.
Even at this stage, Lisburn could have redeemed themselves but the last 10 overs of the Carrick innings added a further 47 runs leaving the home side with the very unlikely final tally of 218 for 9 at the end of their 50 overs and Lisburn wondering how things had gone so wrong. Callum Atkinson was by far the best of the Lisburn attack with 4 for 41 off his ten overs including a very hat trick. Davey Simpson took 1 for 59, Darryl Brown 2 for 32 while Mark Berry had one wicket for 34 in his ten overs.
With rain in the air Lisburn began their reply with the loss of Richard Simpson in the 4th over but brother Davey and Robert Rankin settled in well scoring freely and adding an even time 55 runs before disaster struck; Rankin was run out having mistimed a shot over mid- on, he set off for the run but partner Davey Simpson had never considered a run leaving Rankin well out of his ground as he tried to get back to his crease.
At this stage Lisburn were 63 for 2 in the 16th over and still well in the game; Simpson was joined by Adam Berry and the pair added a further 59 in a stand lasting 14 overs before the Lisburn skipper was clean bowled by Eagleson for 35 and again Carrick looked like favourites.
Unfortunately Adam Berry was out just three overs later for 31 and it was left to professional Darryl Brown and the returning Neil Doak to keep their team in the game. Doak showed his intention with a superb six but was caught and bowled next over as Lisburn slumped to 124 for 5 with just 15 overs left to score a further 95 runs.
Stevie Allen was next out for a single as Darryl Brown was left with an almost impossible task. He might well have attempted an attack on the Carrick bowling earlier but when he did it was too late and he was 7th out for 32 leaving the Lisburn latter order with too much to do in the remaining overs. Glen Halliday made an effort but when he was out for 17 in the 48th over the Carrick win was complete after being almost ‘down and out’ at 36 for 5.
Lisburn have three matches left to save the situation; Saturday brings CSNI to the Park and following their humiliation two weeks ago when they were all out for 49, Lisburn must fancy their chances on home ground. The game against Waringstown, scheduled for September 5th in the Park has been brought forward to Sunday 23rd leaving Lisburn with a vital week end to contemplate.