Larne Buccaneers recorded their first-ever on-field win with an unexpected victory over local rivals Carrickfergus in midweek.
The side, comprised of Second Eleven players, managed the T20 league victory with an unusually young team. The visitors batted first on a flat Sandy Bay wicket and raced to 19-0 after just two overs.
The pacey Aaron McKinley made a the crucial breakthrough when he removed Benson in the third over.
At the other end, Charlie Cloke was also on top form as he bowled his overs straight through. He finished with fine figures of 2-26, including removing top scorer Creighton bowled for 22.
Both opening bowlers were well supported by the fielders. BJ McFaul, in particular, excelled at mid-on, while Andy Steward and Scott Wetherhead both held vital catches.
Larne captain Mike Lyle and young leg-spinner Jack Mitchell continued the good work. The change-bowlers were both on top form, taking two wickets each and slowing the scoring rate effectively.
Larne regularly picked up wickets as Carrick slipped from a promising 40-2 off eight overs to 85 all-out. The home side had held all their catches and effected two run-outs during their best fielding performance of the season.
However, Carrick got the perfect start when Graham picked up a wicket from just the second ball of the Larne reply.
Attacking opener Neil Campbell steadied the home side’s nerves when he blasted two huge straight sixes in the fourth over.
Suddenly Larne were well ahead of the required run-rate. Carrick missed several difficult chances in the field, and even when Campbell was dismissed for a quick-fire 24, his side was in control at 45-2 from just seven overs.
With McKinley cleverly rotating strike, the Larne total steadily climbed toward the victory target. His soft dismissal in the 10th over meant Larne still required 28 to win with seven wickets and 60 balls left.
Cloke and BJ McFaul then combined to produce a match-winning fourth-wicket partnership that saw their side to victory.
Man of the match Cloke hit fours and scored the winning runs with an audacious reverse-sweep. McFaul too played his part with a vital unbeaten 10 as Larne recorded a welcome and surprising victory in the 14th over.