Larne suffer narrow defeat to Cregagh CC

Gareth Alexander made 52 runs in Larne's defeat to Cregagh on Saturday. Photo: Larne Times.
Gareth Alexander made 52 runs in Larne's defeat to Cregagh on Saturday. Photo: Larne Times.

For the second Saturday running Larne 1st XI were involved in a nail-biting finish but were on the wrong end of the result, losing in the last over against Cregagh in Belfast.

After overnight it was an easy decision for the home skipper to put Larne into bat on winning the toss.

It quickly became apparent that batting was going to be challenging when Trevor Dempsey got a ball that lifted and took his glove through to the keeper.

Eddie Wilson joined Gareth Alexander in the middle and they batted sensibly for 12 overs picking up two or three runs an over.

Wilson was undone by a delivery which cut back and stayed low and Chris Dempsey was very unlucky to follow when a length ball lifted sharply and caught the top of his bat to be caught by the wicket keeper.

Chris Keenan and Gareth Gaw were also unfortunate when they mis-timed balls that stuck in the pitch, and with 10 overs to go Larne were struggling a bit on 90-5.

Alexander was still there and, although not finding it particularly easy to score, he never looked in much danger and soon started to pick up the odd boundary as well as being able to rotate the strike.

He was joined by Darren Stanton who played a superb knock. A couple of fours mixed in with plenty of scampered singles and twos and meant they looked like they could push the score up towards 160 mark.

But shortly after passing 50 Alexander was bowled with three overs to go and Stanton soon followed for 26.

It was left to Chris Lough and Aaron McKinley to bat through the overs and get Larne up to a respectable total of 148-9.

Larne made a good start on the bowling front when McKinley had the opener caught by Keenan in a lovely opening spell in which he took 1-14 from his first six overs.

Left-arm spinner Gareth Gaw conceded just 17 runs in an excellent eight overs and was unlucky to remain wicketless.

It was Alexander who made the breakthrough when he bowled the number three batsman and then claimed a second wicket courtesy of an lbw. However, he struggled with his accuracy and was a touch expensive, conceding 41 runs from his 8 overs.

Dempsey bowled with great control but could only take 1-20. Cregagh had managed to stay just ahead of the run-rate for the last 10 overs and with opener Moore still in.

Larne’s Stanton bowled a great spell and took one wicket.

When Lough and Dempsey combined for an excellent run-out, Cregagh were six down with 30 still needed. However, Moore remained resolute and was able to see his side home in the last over.

With Larne missing five regulars it was another good performance against a strong Cregagh side.

Despite defeat, the signs so far this season have been good and if the Sandy Bay men can get their best team on the pitch on a consistent basis, they could be looking to be towards the top of the table come the end of the campaign.