Close Menu

Victory at Ballygomartin Road

Tuesday 06th June 2017

The 1st XI faced a tough Armagh side at Ballygomartin Road on Saturday who had  already picked up 2 wins from 3 in Section One. It was pleasing to see the 1st XI playing at Ballygomartin Road for the first time this season after more early season works on the ground. The game was also well attended by ex-players and club sponsors as they had been invited to the annual Chairman’s Day ably hosted by Gareth Evans. It would be fair to say that enough red wine was consumed to last the month of June which was evident from the numerous staggered exits from the the ground.

On to the cricket where Jamie Gibson’s side made it 4 from 4 in what proved to be a close encounter which would go to the wire. Armagh won the toss and elected to bat on what looked like an excellent pitch. The bounce appeared true and the ball arrived nicely onto the bat.  The opening pair of Saeed and Robinson bowled economically, restricting the Armagh batsmen from freeing their arms with very few loose deliveries. Tight bowling brought a loose drive from key batsman Gelston off Saeed which he was only able to edge through to a waiting Gibson. Robinson took the wicket of Russell and it appeared that Armagh were not going to get away. However oversees player Barnes was to arrive at the crease and his first shot was to show his class with a controlled drive through the covers to the boundary off Robinson. Tim Browne and Jonny Burnside bowled steadily but were unable to find the breakthrough in the middle overs. As the Armagh side began to build partnerships for the 4th and 5th wicket it was yet again Thomas Hill who stepped up to the mark. His spell was made even better by the fact that one over went for 21. Hill finally finished with figures of 8-1-53-3. Although Barnes was out to Hill for 87, assisted  with a swift 42 from Hoey, Armagh were never able to get away as they finished on 237-9 off their 50. An impressive stat from the bowling performance was within the extras column as only 10 in total were gifted by the hosts.

It would be fair to say that at the break the Woodvale players would have been confident that they would chase the total with relative comfort. However the opening bowling of Gelston and Mackey proved a difficult task as they bowled with accuracy and patience. Irwin fell early as he was served up a delivery that cut back taking middle stump. Saeed joined Connelly but heavy cloud gathered overhead. Eventually, and as expected, after 8 overs the rain began to fall and both sides were made to wait over an hour to return to the field. Eventually the rain ceased and ,with excellent facilities at Ballygomartin Road, the game was fit to play almost immediately and play resumed. The rain break reduced the game to just 38 overs with the target revised to 207 to win. The scenario being 190 from the remaining 30 overs. Again the bowling of Armagh, who continued with their opening pair, remained in control. Connelly lasted just two overs further after the break. Saeed and Mark Irwin attempted to build a partnership however the bowlers remained on top. Saeed was to go soon after, caught at cover, with the score at 48-3 after 18. At this stage the crowd began to feel as if the game was slipping away as Armagh appeared to be in full control of proceedings. The wicket of Saeed was to bring an in form Robinson to the crease to join Irwin. The pair batted smartly and began to run well taking singles at will and putting the loose deliveries to the boundary, The pair were also able to take control as they lay into the change bowlers of Armagh. An over of 20 including 3 sixes from Robinson swung the pendulum towards the home side as the visitors began to run out of ideas of how to bring the game back in their favour. The breakthrough was eventually made by Armagh as Robinson was caught on 81 with his side on 172-4 with 6 overs remaining. Irwin continued to play at his fluent best as Fleming (10) and Burnside (18*) assisted in seeing Woodvale over the line with 11 balls spare. Irwin continued his fine form finishing on 53 not out.

With the 1st XI now 4 from 4 they visit Mallusk next Saturday to take on Cliftonville in what should be another close game as they also appear to have some early season form.