DONAGHCLONEY 1st XI will be aiming to bounce back quickly after a disappointing start to the season sees them in the bottom half of the table and already out of the Challenge Cup.
With a squad badly affected by a number of players attending the rugby in Dublin it was a weakened team which took to the field at Muckamore in the opening game of the league season. Muckamore having been relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2011 season, boasted in their ranks ex-Cloney professional “Kami” and it was to be he who was key to the Cloney downfall. Kemptekar led the line with an unbeaten century and was ably supported by Van Der Merwe with a steady 85. The target of 244 proved to be just too much for the Cloney, succumbing to a 25 run defeat, club professional Mansing Nigade with 75, and Bruce Topping with 44 the foundation for Donaghcloney’s total of 219. Saturday past saw the club enter the preliminary round of the Senior Challenge Cup, this year featuring the coloured clothing and screens, as well as the introduction of powerplay overs and free hits. Winning the toss Cloney captain Keith Martin invited the visiting Woodvale team to bat first. A decent start saw Woodvale lose an early wicket but they didn’t let that bother them and posted a challenging 279-7 off their allotted 50 overs. Pick of the cloney bowlers was Jonny Stevenson with 3-49 off his spell. With 39 runs being given away in wides as the Cloney struggled to get to grips with their first competitive outing with the difficult white balls. After the strong batting performance last week and what appeared to be a decent batting track the match was still there for the taking, however with the early loss of Nigade LBW and Topping clean bowled left Donaghcloney struggling at 40-2 after just 6 overs. Veteran Steven Hanna and young Ben Daly followed shortly afterwards leaving the Cloney struggling with 4 down and they never fully recovered from the early losess. Skipper Keith Martin summed up the team’s performance on the day as “very disappointing,”, but felt there was enough positives to take from the early games that the team would be capable of improving and get back to winning ways as soon as possible, starting with their trip to the North West next Saturday as they take on Burndennett in the newly formed Irish National Cup, formed for those in the second tier of cricket throughout the cricket unions in Ireland. Further down the club and the 2nd and 3rd XI are finding their feet much easier as they get used to their new league surroundings. Clashing with the rugby again saw a weakened 2nd XI travel to Cooke Collegians expecting a tight affair. Batting first Gareth Copeland with 80 and Jeff Lyttle with 49 assisted the 2nds to a challenging total of 183. In return Cooke could only put up 44 all out, Shane Warren finishing with impressive figures of 4-8 and assisted by Stuart Copeland with 2-10 and Scott Armstrong with 2-12. After losing in the last over in a disappointing opening game of the season the 3rd XI fought back impressively at the weekend with a victory at a very cold Mallusk facing Academy. With Academy batting first they were restricted well to a total of 101 all out. Captain Raymond Matthews with two wickets and well supported by his young team with Glenn Weir, Mark Campbell and Shane Warren also helping themselves to two victims each. This total was knocked off with ease in 23 overs with the loss of just 5 wickets as Philip Derby top scored with 26.