A week after promotion was secured, Larne First 15 recorded their 10th win from 12 league games by beating Dungannon at Sandy Bay.
It was a match in which the result was not important, but it was a memorable occasion for two under 15 players, Reece Weatherhead and Jack Mitchell, who were marking their debuts and did so in fine fashion, taking two wickets each.
Skipper Chris Dempsey won the toss and went against his usual tactic of fielding first by electing to bat.
Eddie Wilson joined Gareth Alexander at the top of the order and they made a good start putting on 50 for the first wicket in 15 overs before Wilson was caught behind for seven.
The pitch was playing very slow and some accurate bowling was proving difficult away and at the mid point of the innings Larne were on 64-1 and targeting anything over 150.
Neil Campbell and Dempsey were dismissed shortly after drinks but a good partnership followed between Alexander and Trevor Dempsey.
Alexander wasn’t at his best but was keeping the scoreboard ticking along and brought up his 50, his 40th for the team, with 12 overs still to play but he was very disappointed to be bowled for 59 just as he tried to up the scoring rate.
Dempsey had looked in good form right from the start of his innings and the boundaries soon began to flow as he increased the tempo for Larne.
He had already stroked six lovely fours before his brought up his 50 in the last over of the innings with a massive six over mid wicket and finished unbeaten on 57. He was well supported by Zach Weatherhead as they got Larne up to a very competitive 176-6 in their 40 overs.
In reply Dungannon made a steady start in the face of some good new ball bowling from Aaron McKinley and Mike Lyle and made it through the first eight overs unscathed, but when McKinley ripped out the top three in the next three overs the game was over as a contest.
He bowled with real pace and accuracy and got his first wicket caught behind by Dempsey before knocking the off stump out twice.
Lyle had no luck but bowled a very accurate eight over spell conceding just 17 runs. It was then that Dempsey turned to the two young lads to have a bowl in their first matches for the Firsts. Reece Weatherhead is a young seam bowler who came in off a smooth run up and bowled some lovely in swingers – he got his first wicket thanks to a caught behind by Trevor Dempsey and then bowled a batsman to finish with 2-23.
Jack Mitchell is a leg spin bowler, which is the most difficult variation to bowl, but he has great control of line and flight and he too took two wickets – both bowled – to finish with 2-21. With rain looming Chris Dempsey wrapped up the final two wickets as Dungannon were dismissed for 87.
This was an excellent performance from Larne as they continue to secure some good wins despite having lost many of their senior players to other sports in August.,
This Saturday could be the last league game of the season as they entertain PSNI at Sandy Bay.
Larne 176-6 (G Alexander 59, T Dempsey 57no)
Dungannon 87 (A McKinley 3-16, C Dempsey 2-4, J Mitchell 2-21, R Weatherhead 2-23)