AFTER last Saturday’s washout against Woodvale, Donaghcloney got their Senior League season underway with a hard fought two wicket win over Derriaghy, at the Factory Ground.
Winning the toss, long serving captain Keith Martin asked Derriaghy to bat, and unusually opened with spin at both ends.
And how it paid off. Gary Knox grabbed the first three wickets, and Steve Hanna picked up one.
When professional Mansing Nigade, back for his third season, dismissing his counterpart, Takawaley, Derriaghy were reeling at 51-5.
Mansing and Shane Warren picked up another wicket each, and it looked like game over for the visitors at 67-7.
However, Stinson and Jennings batted sensibly to take the score to 105,before Johnny Stevenson bowled Jennings. David Marshall wrapped up the innings with two wickets in successive balls.
A total of 106 should not have been enough, even on a pitch that offered plenty of movement for the bowlers. This was a good bowling performance from all the bowlers, with the classy Tim McClure not getting an over. Gary Knox had the best figures with 3 for 19 in 7 overs.
Donaghcloney made heavy weather of the reply. Sent in to open as a pinch hitter looking for quick runs, Colin Hylands did his job before an lbw decision went against him.
Still, 17 off the first two overs was a swift start. And then the rot set in. Mansing Nigade could only watch from the other end as Mark Stinson dismissed Bruce Topping, Shane Warren and David Marshall in quick succession.
And with Craig Lewis looking hostile at the other end, Derriaghy were suddenly favourites.
However, Mansing had dropped anchor, and was determined to be there at the end. He lost John Dowds, Keith Martin and Gary Knox, to leave the score on 66-7.
Some good blows from John Stevenson took the score to 80 before he was lbw. Steve Hanna came in to play a resolute innings to help Mansing see his team home by two wickets.
Nigade had played a responsible innings of 47 not out, made in two and a quarter hours. This was far removed from his usual free scoring style, but it was just what was needed to win the match on an awkward batting pitch.
This was an excellent win for Cloney, but the batting will need to improve if a challenge for promotion is to be made. There is no game next Saturday, but a visit to highflying Downpatrick follows on May 18. If the batsmen get their act together, Donacloney have every chance of winning this one.
DERRIAGHY 106 all out ( G Knox 3 for 19, M.Nigade 2 for 16, D Marshall 2 for 9 )
DONAGHCLONEY 107 for 8 wickets ( M,Nigade 47 not out, M.Stinson 4 for 30)
Donaghcloney won by two wickets