Bangor CC 1st Xl defeated Donaghcloney Mill 1st Xl by 49 runs, at The Factory Ground, Donaghcloney.
A young Bangor team travelled to Donaghcloney to contest one of only two games being played in Section 1. Despite the sun splitting the trees, only The Factory Ground and Wallace Park survived the horrendous weather that had preceded.
Bangor skipper Chris Burns called incorrectly and got his wish to bat first on a slow and low wicket. The team talk was all about preserving wickets and batting time. Burns’ first scoring shot was a maximum over long-off. His partner Nicky McCollum unfortunately succumbed to the slow nature of the pitch, chipping a regulation catch to cover for 1. Burns was joined at the wicket by Andy Nixon. They forged a chalk and cheese partnership whereby Burns was at his fluent best, smashing balls everywhere demonstrating his immense strength that has gotten the Northern Irish Crossfit media in a frenzy, whereas Nixon was in full survival mode.
Disaster struck with the score on 37 as Nixon called Burns through for a dubious run, only to watch ‘Cloney keeper throw the stumps down leaving the captain well short of his ground. Nixon now owed his skipper and team, and continued to dig in with some dogged and unattractive batting. Taimur Khan, fresh from his training camp in Gran Canarias, looked his best stroking boundaries at ease.
Bangor reached the 24th over at 77-2 before Nixon was caught (on Donaghcloney’s 4th attempt) for 21 putrid runs. He, and anyone watching, will hope he returns to some form ahead of a couple of crunch home fixtures.
Adam McCusker joined Khan at the wicket in a Bangor CC playing top that accentuated his enormous pipes. Adam put those muscles to good use and he and Taimur deflated the ‘Cloney fieldsmen by smashing the ball to all parts. One memorable shot was a 6 over cover by McCusker showing the power and class of the man. The pair put on 106 sumptuous runs before Adam perished in pursuit of quick runs at the end of the innings. This was the partnership that tipped the balance of the match towards the visiting team.
Unfortunately Tamiur fell 9 runs short of what would have been a maiden hundred for Bangor CC, but this doesn’t take away from what was a brilliant innings. Youngsters Yeates and McLarnon hit some lusty blows near the end to give Bangor an excellent total of 240 to defend. First target accomplished in spades.
A buoyant Bangor, re-energised after a fantastic tea, took the field in what was their first bit of cricket outdoors all year. Khan and Nixon started off bowling tightly without much luck. Danger-man Lecky looked in good touch, before an inspired bit of fielding from McCusker saw him short by metres as the stumps were broken. It was almost a carbon copy of what had gone before with Burns in the first innings.
Once Lecky was removed, Bangor chipped away at the home-side, with change bowlers Simpson, McCollum, Burns and Garrett all contributing to the pressure being built in the field. Special mention must go to 15 year old, Chris Pyper, who was debuting. Chris fielded with great athleticism and skill. On another day, he would have been bowling his searing pace, but this wasn’t the wicket for his thunderbolts.
When Stephen Hanna was caught behind by McLarnon, giving Khan his third wicket, Bangor wrapped up victory by 49 runs. Khan was the obvious Man of the Match. What really stood out was the team’s effort in the field. James Griffith was particular agile showing how much of a team man he is.
Bangor 240 for 5.
Taimur Khan 91, Adam McCusker 62, Chris Burns 27, Andy Nixon 21
Donaghcloney Mill 191
Taimur Khan 3 for 22, Chris Burns 2 for 43