Millpark travelled to Comber to face North Down 2nds on Saturday minus strike bowler Steven Leckey.
Lacking this cutting edge to their attack was certainly a factor as Millpark conceded a daunting 316 runs in North Down’s innings. Inevitably the bowlers all conceded runs, Davy Glover offering the most control with 1 for 38.
Mid innings North Down lost 4 wickets while adding just 7 runs, but their acceleration through the last 15 overs, when they scored 140, effectively killed off Millpark before they had started their reply.
The opening partnership of Robb and McCrum, which has generally been a success in the early part of the season faltered with the score on 13 when the former was out for 6. Darrell Martin followed for a hard fought 13, with the score on 51. Keith Dempster, who has started his Millpark career so well fell for a respectable 37 after Charlie McCrum had been out for 28. Millpark’s last 6 wickets then fell for 44 runs, the only other score of note being from Ben Talbot who managed 24.
Millpark eventually lost by a comprehensive 152 runs, and were clearly beaten by the better side on the day.
Sunday 4 June - home to BISC - Senior League Two
Millpark took their unbeaten league record into this clash with bottom of the table BISC, and had to perform their version of The Great Escape to keep it intact.
BISC batted first, and Millpark were satisfied to restrict their opponents to 126 all out. The key bowling performances came from Davy Glover (4-46) and the evergreen Stevie McCart (4-15). Mention also for Steven Leckey who bowled his 8 overs for a miserly 10 runs.
The batsmen should have rewarded the bowlers’ good work by knocking off the modest total. However, this was to be no regulation win, as the home team slumped to a disastrous 49-8. The top 7 had all failed to a greater or lesser degree, the only possible exception being Darrell Martin who had managed 18.
The two BISC opening bowlers took the 8 wickets between them, while also restricting Millpark to those 49 runs in their combined 20 overs.
Enter the unheralded Nelson Shanks, a much underrated cricketer, and Stevie McCart, back from 1st team retirement at 53 years young. Eleven overs after coming together at the crease, their magnificent ninth wicket stand of 78 had wrested victory from the jaws of defeat.
Shanks scored a belligerent but chanceless 41 not out, while McCart went through to an unbeaten 23, hitting the winning runs in the 38th over. Combined with his magnificent bowling figures, McCart’s return will surely go down as one of Millpark’s more impressive Man of the Match performances in recent years.
Skipper Jason Maxwell and his team were cock a hoop to have won the game in such circumstances. However, he and his men will know that a similar batting performance next week against Laurelvale will not have such a happy outcome.