VICTORIA’S first eleven travelled to Belfast to play Cregagh for their second match of the season, full of confidence after their resounding victory the week before.
Victoria skipper Dave Reiman won the toss and had no hesitation in sending the opposition in to bat.
Andy Gray and Babar Khan opened the bowling and had Cregagh under pressure immediately, their score just seven after six overs. Kahn was looking particularly dangerous but luck wasn’t on his side and he was unable to get the breakthrough.
The opening wicket ended up coming from the spin of Darren Vennard, bought on to replace Gray, who bowled the opener with a faster ball.
Jonny Bunting came on for Khan and after a loose first over settled in to a rhythm to keep the pressure on the hosts. The second wicket finally came just before drinks Vennard throwing one up and Khan taking a great catch at long on.
At drinks Cregagh were 60 for the loss of two wickets and while the Victoria men would have liked more wickets they were very happy with the pressure they applied in the field and felt more wickets were not far away.
Sure enough Bunting’s first two overs after drinks yielded three wickets, one a sensational juggling catch by new recruit Gareth Bronte.
McClune then came on to replace Vennard and in his second over picked up the sixth wicket trapping the Cregagh batsmen in front leg before wicket.
Then in the space of three overs Bunting and McClune proceeded to clean up the tail taking the last four wickets for just eight runs.
Another superb bowling and fielding performance restricting the Belfast outfit to just 88 in under 34 overs. Jonny Bunting was the pick of the bowlers finishing with figures of 6-23 ably backed up by Vennard 2-25 and McClune 2-13.
After the tea break Reiman and Vennard opened the batting for Victoria and the reply started in the best possible fashion with the latter scoring two fours and a six in the second over.
They raced to 42 after just seven overs and looked to be cruising to another easy victory.
However there was a slight twist with both openers being removed in consecutive overs to give the hosts a glimmer of hope.
McClune and Khan came to the crease and Khan looked intent on killing the match off swinging for everything. After a quickfire innings he was caught with the score on 62 the visitors still needing another 27 runs.
Adam McClelland came in next and with McClune set about steadying the ship. They managed the task well taking Victoria steadily along to the hosts total before McClune was bowled just one run required.
It was all academic by that stage though the winning runs being scored by a wide by the Cregagh bowler.
After suggestion from some of the cricketing community that Victoria’s opening victory was only achieved because of a depleted Ards lineup the Lurgan men answered the critics in the best possible manner with another resounding victory. This time though there can be no question about the quality of the opposition.
A perfect start to the season for Victoria’s first eleven sitting equal top of the table. They have a break next Saturday before heading to Millpark the following week for the first round of the Junior Cup.