Godbole and Morrison steer Lurgan to league win over Ballymena

Lurgans Gareth Morrison in action against Ballymena at Pollock Park on Saturday.
Lurgans Gareth Morrison in action against Ballymena at Pollock Park on Saturday.

Lurgan’s Niranjan Godbole and Gareth Morrison’s fifth wicket century partnership was enough to see off Ballymena in an entertaining Ulster Bank Section 1 clash at Pollock Park on Saturday.

The game was in the balance as Lurgan lost their fourth wicket for 103 chasing 215 for victory, when Morrison joined Godbole in the middle and together they played some patient cricket coupled with superb strokes to lead the home side to a six wicket victory.

Ballymena elected to bat on winning the toss and openers McLean and Glass made a steady start with McCollum and Grieve a bit unfortunate not to get a breakthrough.

The introduction of Jack Harrison did get Lurgan the wicket they needed as Glass was caught by Derek Wilson for 19 with the score on 24.

Skipper Godbole then brought himself and Peter Maxwell into the attack and their spin bowling began to peg back the Ballymena run rate.

The pressure eventually told and just before the drinks break, Maxwell forced McLean to lift a drive straight back to him, taking the catch chest high to dismiss the Ballymena man for 27 with the total on 79. Maxwell was proving extremely economic with his ten overs, five of which were maidens, in total costing just 9 runs.

With the wicket not giving much assistance to the returning Lurgan pace attack, the visitors middle order batsmen were able to plunder some late runs through Kennedy (19), Taylor (29), and Dick (25 no) with Montgomery top scoring on 69. As well as Maxwell’s 1 for 9 off 10 overs, Ollie McCollum took 2 for 43 off 10 and Niranjan Godbole’s ten overs cost just 29 runs.

Lurgan’s reply got off to a brisk start with opening batsmen Callum Grieve and Stephen Johnston in particular hitting the boundary in the early overs.

However the departure of Grieve to a mis-timed pull shot off Purse for 11 signalled a mini collapse as he was followed soon after by Jack Harrison, LBW to M Glass for 1 and Stephen Johnston, caught by Taylor attempting to hit Glass over the top for 37, leaving Lurgan on 62 for 3. Derek Wilson and Godbole had nursed the score on to 104 when Wilson played over the top of a delivery from S Glass and departed for 9. That however was the last success for the Ballymena bowlers as Godbole and Gareth Morrison gradually seized control of the innings and it was another Godbole boundary that took Lurgan over the line with the first ball of the 45th over.

The Lurgan professional finished just six runs short of another century on 94 while Gareth Morrison was undefeated just 6 runs short of his half century on 44 to give Lurgan four more valuable points.

The ball for this match was kindly sponsored by Jackie Leathem.