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2nd XI & 3rd XI Reports

Tuesday 07th November 2017

2nd XI - Phil Stewart

The seconds had a decent season but it couldn’t really be described as any more than that. Despite finishing second in the league, unavailability hindered the chance to realistically challenge eventual league winners Carrickfergus. Of the fourteen league games scheduled this year, we won eight, lost four and had two matches washed out due to the wet weather we had towards the end of the season. After last season’s cup final defeat, we couldn’t quite repeat that success this year, disappointingly losing in the quarter final against Instonians III. Unavailability was a problem throughout the year for the club in general, and the seconds was no different with 31 players making an appearance for the team during the season over the fourteen matches that we played. I have no doubt that if this improves we are easily good enough to get back to Junior League 1, where I firmly believe is where we belong.

The overall individual statistics for the season show that no individual particularly performed outstandingly throughout the duration of the season with either bat or ball, and there wasn’t many games when both batsmen and bowlers performed well as a group. However, it seemed that matches in which we didn’t bat well the bowling was good and vice versa, although sometimes it wasn’t enough to win that particular game. Eight half centuries were scored by the batsmen this season, although Leslie Irwin’s 66* to win the game against North Down at Ballygomartin Road was the highest individual score. Other eye catching performances with the bat include Ammad Hussein’s 64 off about 30 balls when we needed a seemingly impossible 90 off 10 overs with only 4 wickets remaining, and Jonny Burnside’s quick fire 62* at the start of the season against Carrick. The highest run scorer last season was Marty McKeown, who scored 150 runs at an average of 25. Many of the higher scoring matches this season came at Ballygomartin Road where the pitches were excellent as usual. A thanks to Brian, Ronnie and the rest of the ground staff who prepared the pitches during the season.

I’ll be honest when I say that I was surprised when I counted the wickets for the season and Jonathan McComb ended up with the most wickets. He got fifteen which was one ahead of Ewan Scott, who bowled well again this season and continues to improve. Thinking of individual bowling efforts, not many would beat Arbaz Khan’s 4-6 from 6 overs at Downpatrick. He simply mesmerised the opposing batsmen with a great spell of leg spin bowling. One of the biggest issues that hindered us this season was in the field, especially the catching, and I think all the bowlers would have had a few more wickets to show for their efforts had chances been taken.

So as I said a decent season for the seconds but hopefully if the availability of players improves for next season, it could be a very successful season in Junior League 2, as it is my opinion that on our day we have the best team in the league. We have the best ground in the country and I think it’s about time the teams here are playing at the highest possible level. I want to thank all who first of all played last season, believe me it’s very much appreciated, and also to those who helped me out during the course of the season as well I was glad of the support I had at the club. I wish the captain next season the best of luck.

3rd XI - Colin Storey

The 3rds experienced a difficult season winning just 3 league games. 1 of these wins did come against league winners Laurelvale 2nds, proving that when availability was good we could compete with the best in the league.

Thanks to all who turned out regularly throughout the season including the core of over 50s who continue to contribute runs, wickets and the occasional sandbagging and thankyou to those who turned out in emergencies even though you really didnt want to!

There were a few positives to the season including the emergence of Brian, Cameron and Justin who came on leaps and bounds and seemed to relish being given more responsibility. Most improved player was Ryan Marks who through regular net practice developed from bit part bowler to regular opening bowler. Brothers Furqan and Iqbal had a good debut season for the club and will no doubt continue to improve next season.

Many thanks as always to Brian and team for all their hard work. Playing away at the likes of UUJ really does make you appreciate the work you do and the facilities we have.

As diificult as it is to captain a team who gets relegated, i dont believe which league the 3rds play in is important but that they are still playing in 2018. Onwards and upwards.