Brilliant Anderson innings not enough

A brilliant 99 not out from Neil Anderson was not enough to save Lurgan from a 24 run defeat in a two night Ulster Bank Section 1 game at Academy. Chasing 195 for victory, Lurgan were facing disaster at 29 for 5 wkts when partnerships between Anderson and Ollie McCollum and then Stephen Johnston seemed to be steering the Town side to an unlikely victory.

The game had started well for Lurgan’ bowlers on the first night with Ollie McCollum and Callum Grieve beating the bat on numerous occasions and restricting the Academy top order to just 20 runs in the first 10 overs, with McCollum claiming the wicket of Mager for a duck and then Callum Gibson clean bowling Reid (11) with an in swinging delivery. Spin bowlers Niranjan Godbole and Paul Stafford kept the pressure on and Lurgan were well on top with the opposition struggling at 75 for 5 wkts. However the arrival of rain on the scene certainly didn’t help the bowlers and with a slippery ball making it very difficult for the spinners to grip, the Academy batsman started accumulating runs and 53 and 48 run partnerships for the 6th and 7th wickets saw the home side move towards a challenging total. An excellent chest high catch by Ollie McCollum off the bowling of Grieve dismissed Academy top scorer Sistran-Tate for 62 with the score on 180 and 15 runs later the home side innings ended on 195 all out. Ollie McCollum took 3 wkts for 34 in his 10 overs, Paul Stafford 3 for 42 off 10, Callum Gibson 2 for 56 off 10, Callum Grieve an economical 1 for 15 off 9 and Niranjan Godbole 1 for 41 off 10.

From the start of their reply, Lurgan’s top batting order was in trouble from the bowling of McLarnon and McFadden with McLarnon in particular getting a lot of movement with the ball. Grieve, Harrison, Gibson, Godbole and Clarke were all back in the pavilion with just 29 runs on the board. Gradually Neil Anderson and Ollie McCollum started to stage a recovery and had taken the total to 87 before McCollum was caught out for 15, one of a couple of controversial dismissals in the Lurgan innings. Stephen Johnston joined Anderson and another 50 partnership saw the score advance to 140 when Johnston was adjudged LBW for 14. With wickets running out, Neil Anderson attacked the Academy bowling and had reached 99 not out when the last Lurgan wicket fell. Anderson’s innings included 5 sixes and 7 fours but it was to no avail as the Town side were 24 runs adrift at the finish.

The Lurgan ball used for this match was kindly sponsored by Brian Campbell.