Bangor 1st Xl hosted arguably the best team in Section 1 at the immaculate Upritchard Park, in a game that was of little consequence to the home side, but crucial to the visitors. Welcoming Bates back into the bowling attack, fresh from his weekend of zorb football, Bangor were not too disheartened to lose the toss and field.
The evergreen Taimur Khan took the first over and was on the money from ball one, sending down six perfect deliveries to record a maiden. With Nixon injured, Kwelu was tasked with partnering Khan. Unfortunately for Kwelu, things didn’t go according to plan as the youngster struggled to control the new cherry. After a lost ball, and the umpire doing numerous repetitions of the wide signal, Kwelu’s bowling day was done, thankfully. After a brief and unsuccessful attempt by Nixon to bowl, Ross Miller joined Khan, who was continuing to bowl with precision down the hill. Khan and Miller built pressure as Waite was finally dismissed for 31, receiving an unplayable delivery from the former.
Zorb Footballer, Josh Bates, replaced Khan and struck early, bowling the very dangerous Robert Rankin for a well-made 42, showing his array of sporting talents. More on Josh to come. The Lisburn pair of D. Simpson and Halliday formed the partnership of the first innings despite some fine bowling from Prince, Miller, Paddy English, P. Nixon and Bates during the middle overs. Bangor, who had a number of options to choose from, turned to the spin twins McCollum and Burns to break the momentum of the game.
McCollum struck first, having Simpson caught by Bates for 61, before Burns sent Halliday packing soon after for a half century. With the score on 236-5, Bangor were staring down the barrel of a 300-plus total. Luckily for them, they still had their ace up their sleeve in the form of wicketkeeper-cum-leg spinning allrounder McLarnon. McLarnon came into the attack pitching the ball where he wanted with incredible ease; it was like a young Shane Warne without the peroxide. McLarnon’s bowling was proofing fruitful for Bangor as he removed Berry and Kilpatrick in quick succession. Indeed, had the fielders back him up (Kwelu, Kwelu), he could have walked off with 4 wickets to his name. “All in a day’s work” he added during the interval, at which point the Seasiders were set 285 to win. On reviewing the scorebook with Patrick Dixon at the tea break, it transpired that Bangor had used 11 bowlers during the first innings, further demonstrating the all-round capabilities of this team.
After a beautiful tea, including chicken wings amongst other delights, Bangor discussed their tactics for the innings ahead. With A. Nixon’s injury preventing him from running, McCollum slid down to 3 leaving a space to open alongside skipper Burns. Bates declared in his Ards-Coventry hybrid accent, “I’m the man for it, lad, so I am”, and with this he strode to the wicket full of confidence. Cricket is an unusual sport in that you can lose a wicket before a legitimate ball has been delivered and on Saturday, Bates wrote Bangor history as he ran himself out after D. Simpson bowled a no-ball to Burns. I am unsure of the classification of duck this is but perhaps a reader can get in touch to enlighten everyone.
So, after 0.0 overs, and the scoreboard reading 0 for 1, regular opener McCollum joined Burns at the crease. Both men were timing the ball well on a lovely wicket, with Burns showing glimmers of his early season form, crashing Simpson for a majestic 6 over long off. The pair put on 69 within 12 overs before McCollum was caught expertly at first slip for 19. Khan followed after a brace of boundaries, bringing Mark Nixon to the wicket. Mark, who has spent the last 4 years in Italy eating plant-based proteins, looked in good touch, caressing the ball along the much-loved grass and into the adored trees before he was adjudged LBW for 11.
From the solid position of 70-2, Bangor had slipped to 95-5. Miller, batting uncharacteristically high up the order, was joined by Andy Nixon as the pair decided to enjoy the glorious wicket, as well as the freedom afforded from the hard work and success earlier in the season. In no time, the total raced to 142 before Miller fell LBW to Glass for a mature 18. Kwelu sealed his TFC award by falling soon after for 1 to a ball that ripped leg stump out of the ground.
If Bangor needed a miracle, then this pair were their last hope as Paddy English, capable of winning games off his own blade, joined Nixon. After a flurry of boundaries, Nixon edged a delivery from Atkinson for an aggressive 67 runs. Aforementioned ‘keeper-leg spinner McLarnon came and went, all but sealing Lisburn’s second win over Bangor in 2018. When English was caught attempting a trademark 6 over cover, the loss was confirmed. Credit to Lisburn who were the only team who defeated Bangor twice during the summer, highlighting the thoughts they are the superior team in the league, especially as they admirably strive to improve organically.
Bangor travel to Pollock Park in the final game of the season on Saturday hoping to record their 12th league victory of 2018. As always, the team would like to thank their support and hope to see them make the journey to Lurgan for an 11am start.