Last ball drama as match is tied

Lurgan kept themselves clear of the relegation places after a dramatic last ball tie in their Section 1 league clash with Academy at Pollock Park on Saturday.

With the scores tied at 166 each and one ball to bowl, Lurgan’s Andrew Bingham stopped a blistering straight drive off his own bowling and then scrambled to his feet to run out Academy’s last batsman and earn the home side a share of the points.

Put in to bat, Lurgan made a cautious if steady start with openers Derek Wilson and Stephen Johnston initially defending well against some accurate Academy bowling. They had taken the total to 41 when Wilson drove a full toss wide of the diving Parry with the Academy fielder hanging on to take an excellent catch. Jack Harrison was then victim to a first baller caught behind before professional Niranjan Godbole and Stephen Johnston started to build a useful 3rd wicket partnership. Johnston in particular was in fine form hitting a half century that include a superb six over long off and a couple of crisp fours through the covers. With the total on 92, Academy’s McFadden broke the partnership when he had the Town opener caught behind for 51. As has been the problem with the Lurgan batting virtually all season, the fall of this wicket prompted a middle order collapse, with no one able to stay long enough to build an innings to support professional Godbole. Had that happened, a total of nearer 200 would have put Lurgan firmly in control of the game. However the Town innings finished in the 48th over on 166 with Godbole undefeated on 54 and the bowlers with a job to do. And they started well.

Callum Gibson claimed a wicket in his first over and this was quickly followed by two more wickets courtesy of the bowling of Niranjan Godbole and Paul Stafford to leave the visitors struggling on 33 for 3 wkts. The Academy batsman were finding it difficult to score off the Lurgan slow bowlers and at the 25 over drinks interval they still needed 107 runs with 6 wickets in hand. At 91 for 5 wkts the match was in the balance but the 6th wicket partnership of Moffett and Shields took the total to 142 and the visitors requiring just 25 runs with 5 wkts in hand and just over 4 overs remaining. Teddy Tully then produced the catch of the match, clutching on to the ball diving low to his right on the boundary off the bowling of Callum Gibson. Two more wickets followed quickly from Callum Gibson and Andrew Bingham and the visitors went into the last over needing 4 to win with 2 wkts in hand with Andrew Bingham the bowler. The Town vice-captains first delivery claimed the 9th wicket to fall and then after 3 scrambled runs came that dramatic last ball run out to leave the scores tied. Andrew Bingham took 3 wkts for 35 off 10 overs, Callum Gibson 3 for 41 off 10, Paul Stafford 2 for 32 off 10, Niranjan Godbole 1 for 24 off 10 and Peter Maxwell 1 for 32 off 10.

Lurgan still require one more win to ensure Section 1 status and travel this Friday evening to already relegated Ballymena for a re-arranged T20 league game, and conclude their season on Saturday at home to title chasers Woodvale.

The ball used by Lurgan in this match was kindly sponsored by Sammy Malcolm.

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