Larne Cricket Club progressed in the Junior Cup with Saturday’s five- wicket win over Newforge.
Chris Keenan was the star of the show with an impressive 54 as the Sandy Bay men chased a target of 124. Eddie Hunter chipped in with 25 runs. Larne had set the tone earlier with skipper Gareth Gaw (5-36), Michael Lyle 2-21 andHunter 2-27 bowling well against the south Belfast side.
“I was happy with the victory but I was a little disappointed to lose so many quick wickets with the end in sight, which took some gloss off the overall result,” said Gaw. “Keenan’s innings was among the most destructive I have ever witnessed and when he is in that sort of form, he’s hard to contain.”
Gaw put the visitors in to bat and Hunter and Lyle wasted no time reducing Newforge to 12 for 4, with both bowlers sharing two wickets each.
The Newforge pairing staged a fightback of sorts, mixing good defence with some stylish strokeplay and runs began to flow quickly. Gaw replaced Lyle, while Cloke was brought on for Hunter and both batsmen tried to pressurise the new bowlers.
With the partnership passing 60 runs, Cloke made the vital breakthrough with a lifting delivery which surprised the batsman, having him caught by Gaw at backward point.
With an end opened up, Gaw proceeded to rip through the Newforge tail, claiming the last five wickets to fall. The last three batsmen were all bowled, leaving Newforge all-out for 123.
Hunter opened the batting alongside Eddie Wilson and the pair forged a solid partnership of 40 before Wilson was caught at slip for nine. This brought Keenan in and he cracked his first ball for four. He made light of the conditions, striking six fours and two sixes, reaching 50 off just 27 balls. When he was stumped for 54, Larne needed just 13 runs but the home side lost three more wickets for only six runs. Hunter went on to make 25, and it was left to Michael Kennedy and Gary Moore to get the home side over the line.
Larne return to league duties in Section 3 at Dunmurry this Saturday, hoping for a third victory in a row.
Newforge 123 – Jasmeet 57, G. Gaw 5-36, M. Lyle 2-21, E. Hunter 2-27. Larne 124-5 – C. Keenan 54, E. Hunter 25.