Lurgan returned to winning ways with a huge 156 run win over Cliftonville in their Ulster Bank Section 1 game on Saturday.
On a warm humid day at Mallusk, Cliftonville won the toss and put Lurgan in to bat on a green wicket. Jonny Hunter was dismissed early but Stephen Johnston and Bruce Topping took the score to 46 and just as they were getting on top of the bowling, Johnston was caught at point for a quick-fire 32. Wickets then fell at regular intervals and at 110 for 6 Lurgan were in real trouble. Peter Maxwell then joined Topping for a crucial partnership which took the score to 163.
Topping who had dealt well with the difficult conditions was then dismissed for an excellent 64, an innings which turned out to be a match winning performance. Maxwell’s equally important knock which had helped to rescue the innings, came to an end when he reached 31. Kris Lyness added a few boundaries at the end and the Lurgan innings closed at a very creditable 196, a good score considering the conditions.
In reply, Cliftonville never threatened the Lurgan total and got off to a terrible start. Some fine hostile bowling from John Guy and Kris Lyness, both of whom took two wickets, saw Cliftonville lose four wickets for 13 runs including that of leading batsman Munn.
As the weather closed in and with heavy rain threatening, Lurgan captain Stephen Johnston introduced spinners Niranjan Godbole and Paul Stafford and they responded brilliantly, each taking 3 wickets for 8 runs as Cliftonville capitulated in the seventeenth over to 40 all out and send Lurgan four points clear at the top of the table.