Cloney now firmly in relegation zone

Donacloney faced a difficult double header last weekend.

They were away to unbeaten Muckamore on Friday and at home to promotion chasing Downpatrick on Saturday.

Two defeats mean that ‘Cloney are now firmly in the relegation area.

However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. The game against highflying Muckamore could have been won, especially when the home side’s top five batsmen were dismissed for 43 in 17 overs.

In a match reduced to 35 overs a side, this should have been the platform to dismiss the league leaders for less than 100.

But Gill, Keates and Allen all struck telling blows, and Muckamore were off the hook with 157 for eight wickets.

Mansing Nigade took three for 23 and Lewis McNamara two for 25. Gary Knox was economical, bowling seven overs for nine runs, with one wicket.

Bruce Topping and Mansing Nigade got ‘Cloney off to a reasonable start with 26 runs, before Nigade was caught and bowled by Kamtekar for 9. Topping followed at 34 for 16, but despite good knocks from Colin Hylands (24) and Robert Lyttle (21), wickets fell regularly and the innings closed at 119. The margin was only 17 runs, due to a revised target of 136 under the Duckworth/Lewis method , allowing for a rain interruption.

Saturday’s game against Downpatrick was played in bright sunny conditions. Batting first, Downpatrick got off to a flying start, thanks to their talented skipper, James Magowan. He raced to 82 in an hour and a half facing only 78 balls. When he fell to Lewis McNamara with the score at 124 after 25 overs, Downpatrick must have been expecting over 300. But credit to the Donaghcloney bowlers – they stuck to their task, and helped by some excellent catches by Keith Martin, David Marshall and Shane Warren, the innings closed at 196 all out. All seven bowlers used took a wicket, with David Marshall finishing with 3 for 38, and Steven Hanna 2for 35.

Donaghcloney’s reply began badly, with Shane Warren and Colin Hylands out early. Neil Carson, making his first appearance of the season joined Bruce Topping, and looked assured. He was unlucky to be caught on the fine leg boundary for 8, just as he was getting into his stride. Topping, who was batting well, soon followed for 25, unlucky to be adjudged lbw. Mansing Nigade dug in, and David Marshall and he were looking well set, before Marshall was also lbw for 14. Nigade was caught on the boundary for 16, trying to force the pace, and despite some good shots from skipper Keith Martin (13 not out), Mark Campbell and Tim McClure, the innings closed on 123- a defeat by 73 runs

‘Cloney have a vital weekend coming up. They are at home to Dundrum on Friday and away to Cliftonville on Saturday. Two wins would help ease relegation worries. A committed effort will be needed.