Larne Cricket Club took on Donaghadee at their Northfield Road ground on Saturday and with the local lads pushing for League honours, they were keen to continue their winning ways having lost only one of their NCU Section 3 matches so far this season.
Larne captain, Gareth Gaw, won the toss and had no hesitation in putting the home side into bat, as the weather forecast of heavy showers meant it likely that the game would be interrupted by rain. Little did the Larne team know just how much the weather would play a part in the final outcome!
Richard Hood and Zach Weatherhead opened the bowling for the visitors and soon found good lines and length. Hood was proving very economical conceding just 12 runs from his first six overs, trapping the Donaghadee opener, Savage, lbw in his second over.
Dean Hodge and Gaw were the first change bowlers and continued to bowl well, however, a Donaghadee third-wicket partnership of over 70 runs meant that after 25 overs the home side was on 100 for two.
Hodge eventually got some reward when he had Martin caught by Gary Moore at backward point. Gaw, for the first time this season, ended his spell without taking a wicket but knew that his side was in a fight, and that they needed to take wickets if they were to stem the scoring rate and keep the home team to under 200.
Johnny Baxter and Darren Stanton completely changed the game. Stanton, bowling an excellent line and length, ripped through the Donaghadee batting line-up, taking six wickets for just 14 runs off his 8.2 overs. Baxter also got in on the act, taking two wickets off his allotted 10 overs. With the Donaghadee innings having collapsed to 144 all-out off just 42 of their 50 overs, the Larne side had given themselves a real chance.
Following the tea interval, Larne set about chasing down the 145 they needed for victory. Dean Hodge and Johnny Baxter opened the batting, with Baxter falling in the second over when he was adjudged lbw. With Larne on five for one after two overs, the players had to take shelter for the second time when another heavy shower passed across the ground.
With further time being lost, the match was now in the hands of the Duckworth-Lewis method as the umpires attempted to work out the revised target for Larne to chase.
To do this, the home side needed to have a working computer, loaded with the necessary software, together with a printer and paper all available and ready at the ground. Unfortunately, Donaghadee were unprepared and did not have any technology available.
The umpires were assured it was in a nearby house so, in accordance with NCU Bye-Law (u) points 3 & 4, gave the home team 15 minutes to produce the necessary par score print-outs. With time moving on, and the 15 minutes having passed, there was still no sign of the necessary information.
This left the umpires with no choice but to award the match to the visiting team.
This ‘technical knockout’ keeps Larne at the top of the league, although Gaw’s side know that there is still a lot of tough cricket to be played and that they must be on top form for each of their remaining four matches.
On Saturday, Larne entertain Ards at Sandy Bay and nothing less than another win will do as there are a number of teams eyeing up the top spot in Section 3. The match ball was kindly sponsored by Bake.