Ists start with Cup win
Lurgan’s season got off to the best possible start with a 5 wicket win over Academy in a preliminary round of the Senior Challenge Cup.
On a cold windy day at Pollock Park, Lurgan were asked to field first and opening bowler Ollie McCollum struck in his first over clean bowling Kakar for a duck. The Town’s bowlers continued to bowl a tight line and length and with the score on 25, McCollum struck again with a leg stump yorker to remove Palmer for 6. Despite a fast outfield, Academy found runs to be at a premium and two lbw decisions courtesy of the bowling of Andrew Bingham had the visitors struggling on 35 for 4. Robert Hall was the only Academy batsman to really try and attack the Lurgan bowling, but an attempt to clear the deep mid-on boundary off the bowling of Peter Maxwell saw Callum Grieve take an excellent low catch to dismiss him just two runs ort of his half century. Wickets continued to fall regularly and only a 20 run last wicket partnership between Magee and Wilson gave Academy a reasonable score of 154 to defend. Lurgan’s bowlers all contributed well with Andrew Bingham taking 3 for 27 in 9 overs, Ollie McCollum 2 for 17 off 7, Peter Maxwell 2 for 32 off 10, Qasam Mohammed 2 for 16 off 4, Zaheer Ali 1 for 40 off 8 and Callum Grieve 0 for 20 off 6.
Early wickets were necessary if Academy wanted to keep their cup hopes alive, and a mis-timed drive by Stephen Johnston saw him caught at mid-off midway to the boundary for 5 with the total on 7. Stephen Chambers joined Callum Grieve in the middle and looked in fine touch until he lifted a slower delivery from Wilson into the covers where Lennox took an excellent diving catch and he was gone for 13. With Derek Wilson (4) and Peter Maxwell (10) both being out cheaply, Lurgan were stalling at 60 for 4 the match looked to be in the balance. However Callum Grieve was building a steady innings and when he was joined by Ollie McCollum, both players took the game to the Academy bowlers. A 62 run partnership brought the home side into the winning straight with McCollum eventually being dismissed for a brisk 28. Skipper Richard Clarke joined Grieve and the tall Lurgan all-rounder brought up his half century just before the Town side eased to victory in the 36th over, with Clarke undefeated on 14 and man of the match Grieve not out on 55. Lurgan will now play Downpatrick away in the next round of the Cup on 20th May.
The ball used by Lurgan in this game was kindly sponsored by Jackie Leathem.