Donaghcloney first XI travelled to the picturesque Castle Grounds to play Academy in upbeat and confident form following last week’s demolition of Cooke Collegians.
The ranks had been further strengthened with two imports from Millpark. The irrepressible Charlie McCrum is a welcome addition to any cricket team with his wealth of experience. Keith Dempster hails from the north of England but has been living in Northern Ireland for the last number of years. Both players are more than welcome to Donaghcloney and the club would like to wish them every success this season.
Having lost the toss, Donaghcloney were asked to bat and got off to a flying start with 5 from the first ball.
However, it wasn’t long before W Mohammand found his accuracy and Colin Hylands lost off stump in the 4th over with the scores on 14. It was the start of an impressive spell from Mohammand who ended up with 4 wickets for 31 runs from his 10 overs. His other victims included Alan Harland who failed to trouble the scorers, Gary Knox who was adjudged leg before while not offering a shot and Matthew Lyttle clipped an feisty 17 in the dying overs of the game.
The two Millpark imports steadied the ship and looked comfortable at the crease when Dempster, trying to sweep a straight one the off spinner Halbert, was given LBW. The score was 54-4 at this stage. That brought the Donaghcloney professional to the crease. With McCrum at the other end these two put together the best partnership of the Donaghcloney innings.
With the tight bowling both players worked the ball and picked off singles to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Having put on 74 for the fifth wicket and just after getting to his first half century this season, Mansing was bowled round his legs by the off spinner Halbert. Halbert finished with figures of 2 for 22 of his allotted 10 overs. In the dying overs the tail pushed the score to 181 from the 50 overs.
Charlie McCrum had played a very controlled innings a fought hard to get his runs. He was run out last ball of the innings for 62. A gutsy knock showing the other Donaghcloney batsmen what it is to value your wicket and not throw it away easily. 181 was a par score on what was a slow wicket but gave the bowlers plenty to work with.
With the forecasted rain staying away Donaghcloney never found their usual rhythm out in the field. The Kiwi import, Halbert was very impressive for Academy. He batted with maturity beyond his years and pounced on anything loose. He and Mark Shields finished with 90 and 60 respectfully ensuring that Academy got their second win of the season. The shinning light of the Donaghcloney attack was young Jobin Joy playing in his first game with senior team. He bowled very well ending up with figures of 1 for 16 of 4 overs including the big scalp of Halbert denying him his centenary. Academy won easily by 8 wickets.
Meanwhile back at headquarters, Donaghcloney 2XI played their first home game of the season against North Down 3XI.
Donaghcloney won the toss and elected to bat. Getting off to a great start they raced to 50 without loss after 12 overs. However, once Paul Lyttle fell on 17 this led to a bit of a Donaghcloney collapse. They lost 3 key wickets of Robert Lyttle, Justin Joy and Richard Lyttle without any trouble being made to the scorebook.
In the meantime Brian Lyttle had come to the crease to join his brother Stephen. The two brothers rolled back the years with a steady partnership to stabilse the innings showing a few of the younger boys how things should be done. Luck was not on Donaghcloney’s side,however, as the Holywood batsmen hit in the air but found the gaps in the field. North Down scraped over the line to win by 3 wickets.