It was a mixed season for the Villagers in Donaghcloney Cricket Club.
In early July they welcomed derby rivals Waringstown to the Factory Ground for the club’s first Challenge Cup semi final in well over 20 years. However, just two months later they were planning for 2014 in a new league after being relegated back to NCU Section Two.
Throughout the season the good form shown to reach a cup semi final with a great win against Carrickfergus in the quarter final, deserted the villagers in the league and despite winning their last two games, the damage had already been done with only five victories to show from their 18 games.
The second eleven faired much better, leading the league for much of the season. A decent cup run saw them pitted against higher league opposition a number of times, and while they made light work of what should have been a tough Ballymena challenge, a trip to Academy in the quarter final proved a step too far. They earned a solid fourth placed finish and while early on they would have dreamt of more, many would admit this seemed about right.
The third eleven also faired reasonably well, with a mid-table finish with a much younger and less experienced team than their opposition were often fielding showed good reason for encouragement.
Likewise, the final senior midweek team gained a few wins and a few losses and a mid-table finish with lots of promising displays from the younger generation mixed in with the older heads showing they still have it. That means signs are promising for 2014.
The underage sides all showed signs of improvement and positivity, and after the promotions of the 2012 season they proved that they were able to hold their own in a higher league. Again with a bit of luck, they could have seen success in the cups, with U13 and U11 sides losing by one and two runs against Waringstown and Saintfield.
While the hit of relegation will be the main talking point of the season for the village side, a deeper look at the performances shows that there are positives to be taken. For the 2014 season, Keith Martin will stay at the reigns for the first eleven, and there will be many opportunities for the youth to stake their claim to him for a regular starting spot.