Millpark edged out Armagh on Saturday at Banford Green in their first Senior One match of the season. It was a good victory built on a series of solid performances.
Batting first on a slow wicket, Millpark openers Charlie McCrum and Aaron Robb put on 22 for the first wicket. The middle order then stuttered, but with McCrum playing the sort of steady, professional innings that Millpark have been missing, the score moved along steadily.
McCrum held the innings together as wickets regularly fell, and he was eventually out for an invaluable 75 runs. Trick then was to accelerate over the last ten overs, and the key men here were Stuart McCart and wicketkeeper John Simpson. McCart was out for 24, while Simpson finished on 28no as the Millpark innings closed on a competitive 199-8.
The Armagh innings opened slowly as Millpark’s opening bowlers Stephen Leckey and Darrell Martin combined to limit Armagh to 24-2 off twelve overs. Martin used his experience and accuracy to concede a miserly 12 runs from his 10 overs, while taking two wickets. Leckey bowled with good pace to finish with an also excellent 2-25.
For the majority of the Armagh innings Millpark were in control of the game, but in the middle overs runs began to flow for the visitors. Russell (35), Doyle (27), and Boyd (58no) all played well and brought the match to a tense conclusion.
Good aggressive hitting meant that Armagh needed only nine runs for victory, but then McCrum took their ninth wicket, and only their last pair remained. Six runs were required by now, and in the penultimate over of the match Stuart McCart took the last wicket, caught at square leg by Davy Glover.
Millpark had triumphed by just five runs to get their season off to an excellent start. They face Cooke Collegians this week before playing Victoria in the Junior Cup.