Larne 1st XI beat Saturday’s horrible weather to claim a four-wicket win away at Monaghan.
The home team won the toss and elected to bat first. After a couple of probing overs from Willy Graham and Cameron Ruys, skipper Chris Dempsey decided spin was the more likely threat and it paid off initially when he and Gareth Gaw picked up two wickets each to reduce the home team to 17-4 off 11 overs.
Gaw conceded just 10 runs from his eight overs and one of his wickets was a very sharp stumping by Darren Stanton.
Larne really let it slip, however, and Monaghan moved to 90 before the next wicket fell.
Stanton made the breakthrough when Aaron McKinley took a catch at cover. It was McKinley’s bowling which provided the urgency required to swing the game back in Larne’s favour, taking 4-17. One of his wickets came thanks to a well-judged catch in the deep by Phil Mawhinney.
Monaghan’s final total was 108 after Gareth Alexander took the other wicket courtesy of a good catch by Scott Weatherhead, who was making his debut for for the Firsts.
Chasing a challenging total, Larne were reduced to 69-6 but held their nerve to record a four-wicket win. Jonny Baxter was the first to go when he got an unplayable yorker and when Chris Keenan and Dempsey soon followed, Larne were stumbling on 29-3.
Alexander was joined by Cameron Ruys and they began to repair the damage and got the score up to 60 before Ruys was adjudged lbw for seven. Gaw and Stanton didn’t trouble the scorers to leave Larne in big trouble on 69-6.
But Mawhinney showed no fear and he and Alexander were able to get to 109 with 4 overs to spare. Amazingly, Larne didn’t record a single boundary in the run-chase but reached their total thanks to singles and twos and the 41 extras conceded by the home bowlers.
It was Larne’s worst performance of the season and they were outplayed by Monaghan but will aim for better on Saturday when the entertain league leaders, Ards. Monaghan 108 (A McKinley 4-17); Larne 109-6 (G Alexander 40 not-out).