MILLPARK Firsts welcomed Victoria to Banford Green on Saturday for their Junior Cup first round tie.
Victoria are from Senior League Three, one division below the Tullylish men, but the hosts were not taking the visitors lightly. Millpark skipper Jason Maxwell lost the toss and for the first time this season his team fielded first. Davy Glover was Steven Leckey’s new ball partner this week, Darrell Martin being unavailable for the game.
It was Leckey who struck first though, uprooting opening batsman Black’s middle stump with the score on 2. Glover was not to be undone, claiming the other opening batsman’s wicket with the score on 25. Leckey was back in the wickets when he removed the dangerous McClune for 20 with the score on 41.
Victoria now started to accelerate, chiefly through Vennard who struck 65 in an aggressive innings. He was sixth man out with the score on 132. With him gone, the innings fell away, the last three wickets falling for just four runs.
Steven Leckey was again the spearhead of the attack , taking 4-25. Davy Glover, Ernie Robb and Jason Maxwell all took two wickets. Maxwell will be on a hat trick when he next bowls, as he accounted for the last two batsmen and finished the innings.
Although Millpark’s fielding, their catching in particular, had been disappointing they retired to the break confident that they would come away with a positive result. Millpark’s established opening pair of Robb and Charlie McCrum took to the field looking to set the solid base they have managed in each of the first three matches. Unfortunately on this occasion their partnership realised just 16, before Robb was out for seven. Ben Talbot then followed for one, given out LBW. He has struggled so far this season, but is a fluent batsman whose season will surely start to change for the better.
Debutant Keith Dempster then joined McCrum at the wicket with the score on 20-2. Having had a break from cricket for a number of years but he batted as if he had never been away. His innings was a combination of sound technique and strong hitting and went through to finish on 67no.
He and McCrum added a vital 87 runs, before McCrum was out for an invaluable 46. He now has 242 runs in four matches, and an exceptional average of over 60. Although Millpark did wobble briefly with Leckey and Glover out cheaply, Stu McCart and the excellent ensured that Millpark ran out winners by a comfortable five wickets with 16 overs remaining. The Tullylish men now visit North Down Seconds on Saturday 2 June in the second round. North Down will present a stern challenge as Millpark bid to keep their unbeaten record intact.