MILLPARK’S First XI got back to winning ways on Sunday, but it was a mighty close run thing.
Batting first on a green, damp Drumaness wicket, Millpark opening pair Davy Glover and Charlie McCrum made a steady, if unspectacular start.
It was not to last, however, as both men were out in quick succession, leaving their team two wickets down for 25.
Ben Talbot and Keith Dempster rebuilt the innings, taking the score onto 48 before the former was caught on the boundary.
Dempster, who has had a highly impressive debut season for Millpark, averaging almost 60, was then joined by Ryan McCart. McCart was out soon after for seven, bringing in Stephen Leckey.
He and Dempster took the attack to Drumaness, upping the scoring rate to bring the score to 115 when Leckey was out. He had scored 28, including three towering sixes.
At this stage the wheels threatened to come off, as two futher wickets fell for just one more run. Millpark’s numbers seven, eight and nine had mustered just one run between them.
The momentum had seemingly been lost and the innings threatened to tail off. Johnny Breen and Dempster steadied the ship, bringing the total to a competitive, but not convincing 135 for eight wickets. Breen finished on 7 not out, while Dempster was just two short of what would have been a well deserved 50.
In reply, Drumaness made a great start. Although opener Walsh was run out by veteran Stevie McCart for just four runs, their subsequent progress made them hot favourites to win the game.
After 10 overs they had scored 74 for just two wickets, and then progreesed to 97 for three after 14.
Drumaness were coasting, and scoring the required runs almost at will. At this stage Stuart McCart had been brought on to bowl the first of his four allotted overs. Bowling in tandem with Davy Glover, they immediately started to slow the scoring rate.
Drumaness were still coasting towards victory, but McCart was starting to take vital wickets. He struck in each of his overs, and crucially twice in his last, which was also the last of the match.
A seemingly straightforward 14 runs were required off the last three overs. Tight bowling saw just 5 more added as the last over started. The first ball was sweetly struck for four, but then McCart struck with the next delivery. A single left 4 required from the last three balls. The first two of these were dots, and in scenes of high tension the last ball was edged behind, gratefully caught by keeper John Simpson.
Millpark had prevailed by three runs in a game they should by rights have lost. The heroes for the Tullylish men were Dempster and Stuart McCart (5-18). However, in true Millpark spirit, the team as a whole stuck to their task as the game seemingly started to slip. This was an excellent team victory.