The 2014 season got off to a great start with wins for both the 1st XI and 2nd XI. At the Factory Ground Donaghcloney hosted Cooke Collegians. Having been relegated last year the club have high expectations and are keen to return to Section next year. It was therefore necessary to get the season off to a good start.
Donaghcloney were asked to bat after skipper Keith Martin lost the toss. With the wicket looking good, hopes of getting a healthy total started to slip as Phil Derby (0), Alan Harland (9), Mansing (0) Shane Warren (16) and Matthew Lyttle (5) all fell cheaply and Donaghcloney were 54-5 after 13 overs and not Looking good. The first partnership of any note came from new recruit and club debutant Stephen Lecky and Keith Martin. The pair looked comfortable at the wicket when Stephen walked across his stumps and trapped leg before, giving C Shekar his 5th victim. Jonny Stevenson (3) and Gareth Copeland (6) didn’t last long either and it was all Cooke Collegians at this stage as Donaghcloney were 82-8. The two left handed batsmen of Steven Hanna and Keith battled on with Keith eventually holing out to mid off for 30 after chasing a wide half volley. With the score at 107-9 the pragmatic Timmy McClure came to the crease. Over the next half hour the momentum of the game changed with Steven and Timmy putting on 58 for the last partnership. Both players played their shots and rotated the strike and taking singles that were on offer. Timmy finally fell for 17 leaving Steven Hanna stranded on 30. What a day it was going to be for him.
After tea Cooke Collegians came out to bat and never got started. The opening two bowlers of Stephen Lecky and Steven Hanna bowled unchanged for 15 overs and in that time took all 10 Cooke Collegian wickets. Lecky with his pace came down the hill from the River End. He bowled accurately and looked hostile in what was a fairly slow pitch. He ended up with figures of 8 overs 2 maidens 15 runs and 2 wickets. At the other end Hanna posted his lifetime best figures of 7 overs 3 maidens 7 runs and 8 wickets in a remarkable spell of left arm spin bowling. Hanna bowled straight and no one in the Cooke Collegian team came to terms with the flight and deception while they were facing him. The last six batsmen failed to score a run between them and Cooke Collegians were all out for a disappointing 24. Hanna said: “That’s my best ever figures. Some days it’s just your day and today it was my turn.”
In Holywood the 2nd XI were also having success. With several players not available, Donaghcloney travelled to Cultra hoping to start the season well. Donaghcloney won by an impressive 71 runs. Special mention to Conor Woods who took two wickets on his 2XI debut and Andrew Fisher who also bowled and took two marvellous catches anyone would have been proud of.