This was an important weekend for Donaghcloney, seeking two wins in their fight against relegation.
In the Friday game, Dundrum batted first and were all out for 113. Their professional. Kakade made a quickfire 44 before being caught and Geoff McNerlin 25. After this the innings simply folded with Gary Knox, Mansing Nigade, Steve Hanna and Lewis McNamara each taking two wickets.
In response, ‘Cloney lost Colin Hylands (4) and Neil Carson (11) for 29. Mansing Nigade joined Bruce Topping, and they took the score to 93 before Bruce was caught for 38. New signing Alan Harland batted sensibly, but two more wickets fell before Mansing despatched the winning boundary. In the absence of Keith Martin, Phil Derby captained with intelligence. Donaghcloney won by five wickets
Played at Mallusk, the Saturday game produced ‘Cloney’s highest score of the season. They made 200-7 wickets in their 50 overs to set up a good platform for a win.
Bruce Topping batted fluently and hit two sixes in the first six overs. His opening partner, team captain Keith Martin, batted sensibly for eight, before being bowled with the score at 35. Bruce was joined by Alan Harland, who also batted sensibly, and these two took the score to 95 before falling for nine. Mansing Nigade joined Bruce, and the scene was set for a big score. However, disaster struck twice with the score at 111.
Mansing was bowled for eight and Bruce fell to a fine catch for 76. This was a fine attacking innings made off 89 balls. Neil Carson and Steve Hanna now had to consolidate, and took the score 145, when Carson was unlucky to be adjudged lbw for 17. Steve Hanna made 12, and Phil Derby a sound 26, followed by a swift 16 not out by Gary Knox, to bring the score to 200. Opening again with spin, Gary Knox and Steve Hanna bowled tightly, and after 12 overs Cliftonville were 27-2 wickets - surely a winning position.
New Zealander Sean Fitzgibbon and Davy Menaul settled in, and although always behind the clock, paced their response perfectly to win in the 49th over, batting in an unbroken stand of 174. Cliftonville won by eight wickets.