With Larne’s First XI enduring a miserable start to their NCU Section 2 league campaign, it was left to the Larne Pirates, the club’s T20 specialists, to lift the gloom with a comfortable victory in the Lagan Valley Steels T20 Shield.
Donaghadee batted first at Sandy Bay and were soon in trouble as William Graham marked his return to action with two early wickets. The pace-man received valuable support from Gareth Gaw, whose steady left-arm spin helped restrict the visitors to 111-7 from their 20 overs.
In reply, Larne opener Chris Keenan took advantage of the fielding restrictions to give his side a flying start.
The left-hander treated spectators at the mid-week match to one extremely memorable spell of batting as he hit 22 runs from the fifth over. Keenan repeated a series of straight drives before being unexpectedly bowled off the final delivery of the over. Trevor Dempsey calmly batted throughout the remainder of the innings to finish with 38 not-out.
Chris Dempsey hit two massive sixes, one of which bounced over the pavilion and the Pirates completed a comfortable eight-wicket victory in the 17th over.
They will now visit Cooke Collegians in the next round with a place in the semi-finals at stake.
On Saturday, Larne exited the Junior Cup at the second round stage, losing by 54 runs at Millpark.
This weekend sees the Seconds beginning their cup campaign away to CSNI. The Firsts will also be away as they got to Saintfield in search of a first league victory of the season.
Despite and impressive display, Larne’s Seconds lost by 24 runs to Donaghcloney in Junior League 8 when leg-spinner Jack Mitchell took his first five-wicket haul for the club.
He picked up a wicket with his first ball before posting figures of 5-19 from his six overs. However, Donaghcloney still managed to reach 150-9 from their 30 overs.
In chase, Neil Campbell produced a splendid innings of 56. Campbell’s knock included seven fours, most of them being driven straight down the ground. His departure in the 23rd over left Larne facing a difficult task and the young side fell to a 24-run defeat.