Larne Cricket Club’s seconds recorded a nervewracking two-wicket win over Donaghadee on Sunday.
The visitors won the toss and elected to bat first on another damp Sandy Bay wicket. They were soon 8 for 2 and regretting that decision, as Richard Hood clean-bowled two batsmen in just his second over.
There then followed the first of numerous interruptions for rain as heavy showers regularly passed over the ground.
Stubbings and McCloskey put on 41 for Donaghadee’s third wicket, but a stunning catch by Andrew Beattie at mid-off swung the match back in Larne’s favour.
The experienced change bowling pair of Ken McKinley and Mike Lyle then exploited conditions perfectly to run through the visitors’ batting line-up to finish with identical figures of 3 for 17. Larne captain Trevor Dempsey also produced another memorable stumping to help his side out.
Donaghadee had lost their last seven wickets for just 19 runs to be dismissed for just 67 in the 22nd over. The home side were a little over-confident in chasing such a small total, and although Burke and Aaron McKinley put on an chanceless 20 for the first wicket, it soon became clear that victory was not going to be a formality. Yet more rain had made batting conditions extremely difficult.
Shaw picked up three wickets during his opening spell and once the openers had departed, Larne threatened to collapse spectacularly. Four batsmen departed for just four runs as the home side suddenly slipped to 24 fot 4 in the 12th over. McKinley (18) and Jithin Kuriakose (17) finally brought some semblance of normality back to the game with a crucial partnership of 30 for the fifth wicket.
With six wickets intact and just eight runs required, it seemed Larne were on course for a comfortable win when disaster struck again as both of the set batsmen were dismissed in quick succession. Two more scoreless dismissals followed on a day when a wretched four Larne players recorded ducks. At 65 for 8, three runs were still required with just two batsmen left and the match was still very much in the balance.
Fortunately, the final three in the order were a very capable trio and Larne finally stumbled across the finishing line in the 27th over to win by two wickets.
Special thanks must be extended to all the ground staff and to Donaghadee for managing to get the match played in what were often atrocious conditions. The match ball was kindly sponsored by LadyBird Nursery. Practice continues at 6.30pm every Tuesday and Thursday nights with all welcome.