Final day victory secures place in Section 3

The Victoria team.
The Victoria team.

Victoria went into their last match of the season knowing they needed to win to assure Section 2 cricket for next season.

Armagh were asked to field first, as Victoria won the toss and elected to bat. Dave Reiman and Andy Gray opened and after a slow start they managed to increase the rate, before Gray departed for 12 in the fifth over.

A swift partnership between Reiman and Ajmal put Victoria back in a good position as 31 runs came off a 21 ball partnership, before both men departed in consecutive balls. Two more wickets fell in the next three overs and Victoria were stuttering on 66-5 with 9 overs to go.

With the pressure now on the remaining batsmen, Garry McClune came to the fore with his best innings of the season as he looked to score off every ball in a profitable six over partnership with Glenn Thompson. Thompson (10) departed in the 17th over with the score on 101-6, before McClune departed for a vital 32. The remaining batsmen looked to work the ball into the gaps and scored at a run a ball for the remaining four overs to take Victoria to a total of 126, with Parks unbeaten on 11.

Victoria were confident they could defend the total, but wary of the batting talent which Armagh possess.

Armagh got off to a good start scoring at 6 an over, before Babar Khan pegged back to run rate with a terrific spell, as Armagh only managed two scoring shots, as he bowled his allotted four overs for a paltry eight runs. The last of these overs saw the first breakthrough. Armagh got to the half way stage on 51, with only one wicket down. Reiman picked up in the next over, before the introduction of McClune made inroads into the batting line up. McClune picked up a wicket in his first over, but it was his second over that really put Victoria in control. With Colin Russell at the crease and batting well, Victoria had reason to worry, but when he attempted to pull McClune to the midwicket boundary Jordan Walsh took an excellent catch inside the circle. Michael Villiers was dismissed courtesy of a smart caught and bowled four balls later and Victoria were very much in the ascendancy. Gray and McClune both picked up a wicket in their next overs and Victoria were able to close the game out in comfort, as Gray picked up the final wicket.

A talented and committed squad of players managed to finish the season strongly to secure Section 2 cricket for another season, despite most experts predicting a swift return to Section 3.

at the start of the season.