WEEKEND CRICKET

1sts beat BISC, 2nds lose at Donacloney

A record breaking sensational 267 run partnership **between Stephen Johnston and Stephen Chambers at a sizzling Pollock Park on Saturday saw the 1sts go joint top of the Robinson’s Services League Section 2 as they defeated BISC by nine wickets.

On a super batting strip with a fast outfield, BISC had threw the gauntlet down to the Lurgan batsmen as they posted a tough looking 274 for 7 wickets in their 40 overs. An excellent opening 59 run partnership between Rekhi and Daptari got the visitors off to a good start before Jack Maxwell took 2 wickets in his 3rd over to bring the home team into the game, but a 100 partnership between Daptari (89) and Krishali (57) pushed the score to over 200 and a long run chase was on. Adam Johnson then dismissed both with successive deliveries to put the brakes on the run rate but a third league win looked a long way off at the interval. There were 2 wickets each for Jack Maxwell (2 for 28 off 6), Stephen Johnston (2 for 51 off 8) and Adam Johnson (2 for 57 off 7) while Peter Maxwell took the other wicket to fall (1 for 39 off 8).

It looked further away when Callum Grieve was bowled by Krashali for 2 with the total on just 8. With the mercury at Pollock Park reading 29 deg C (84F), Stephen Chambers then joined Stephen Johnston in the middle and a square cut for four off his first ball set the tone for the rest of the innings. Both batsmen settled quickly and the runs began to flow and by the half way stage Lurgan were well up with the 7 per over run rate. It was Stephen Johnston who reached his century first, in an innings that included 2 sixes and 15 fours to finish on 133no, while Stephen Chambers 119no included 17 fours as Lurgan cruised past the 274 required off the first ball of the 35th over. The 267 run partnership was a tremendous achievement by the two players in the toughest of conditions and is the highest recorded in the club’s history. Next week Lurgan are at home to Downpatrick in the quarter final of the Junior Cup.

**Although the biggest partnership in the club’s history, Stephen Johnston and Stephen Chambers are not the first to share a 200 run wicket stand for the club. In the early 1970’s, Bob Matier and Paddy Kavanagh each scored a hundred in an opening partnership while in 1986 Graeme Hunter (122no) and Rahul Mankad (80no) shared a first wicket stand of 212. A few years later it was the turn of Charlie McCrum and Subash Kshirsagar each to score centuries in a 200 run opening stand in a close game against Ballymena for whom Alan Neill hit 120 no. The highest run chase by a Lurgan side was in 1999, when Abhijit Kale hit a century, Ross McCollum 90, Graeme Hunter 50 and Francois Viljoen 30no as Lurgan chased down 320 to beat North Down at Pollock Park after Taimur Khan had scored 160 for the visitors.  

At Donacloney, the 2nds were looking to keep their good run of wins going but unfortunately fell short of victory by 26 runs. It was Donacloney’s opening batsman Clydsdale who was the backbone of the home sides innings, hitting 64 as the ‘cloney set Lurgan a target of 147 for victory after 20 overs. Matt Jess took 2wkts for 22 off 3 overs, Fraser Cunningham 2 wkts for 25 runs in 4 overs while Vaibhav Sawant took 1 for 20 off his 4 overs.

In reply, despite good knocks from Manav Tyagi (31), skipper Peter Hutchinson (29) and Neil Hinds (20no), the 2nds couldn’t keep up with the required run rate and finished short of the target on 120 for 5 wkts.    

Stephen Chambers in action at Pollock Park on Saturday
Stephen Johnston drives at pollock Park on Saturday
Record breakers Stephen Chambers and Stephen Johnston

For more photos go to Maynard Collins Photography at

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1-s9_tw48Xy2L2q9LznspSGLDL87nsubU?usp=sharing