Donaghcloney marched into the semi-final of the NCU senior cup, for only the second time in the club’s history, after seeing off Carrickfergus last Saturday
A superb team effort resulted in a 7 wicket win over Carrickfergus at the host’s Middle Road ground.
Winning the toss, ‘Cloney skipper Keith Martin surprisingly asked the home side to bat first. He opened the bowling with his spin bowlers and once again it paid dividends. After 16 overs, Carrick were reduced to 51 for 5 wickets on a good batting track. Steven Hanna had 3 for 25, and Gary Knox 2 for 25. Mansing Nigade replaced Knox and picked up another wicket to leave the score on 69 for 6 and Donaghcloney hoping for a total of less than 100 to chase.
However, it wasn’t to be, as the Carrick professional Louis Delport settled in and with good support from Geoff Thompson took the score to 110 before he was caught on the boundary by Steve Hanna for 43, off Nigade. Although Keith Martin switched Nigade, David Marshall and Tim McClure intelligently, the tail ‘wagged’ just a bit too much and the final score was 152.
Donaghcloney opened with Colin Hylands and Mansing Nigade against some fast, but rather wayward bowling from Haggan and Martin. Hylands was caught behind with the score on 17 and Bruce Topping joined Nigade with a lot of expectation on their shoulders. However, Mansing was caught for 15 with the score on 33 and Steve Hanna followed at 47.
This brought Keith Martin to the wicket to join Topping and he made his intention clear, not to get out. With the score at 50, there was a long interruption for rain.
Under the Duckworth/Lewis method, the target was re-set, and a further rain delay meant that ‘Cloney were set a final target of 108 in 28 overs. With Martin showing sound defence, Topping was able to play his shots and he finished the game with two superb straight sixes off successive balls. His 56 not out made in 92 minutes earned him the man of the match award, while Martin’s watchful defence brought him 9 not out in just under an hour, an important supporting innings.
This was a fine win for ‘Cloney, the ground fielding was first class and four good catches were taken. All five bowlers held a good line and all were among the wickets. Best was Steve Hanna who captured 3 for 27 in his 10 overs. Bruce Topping carried on his good form and Keith Martin showed he is capable. It can only be a matter of time before the talented Mansing Nigade finds his form, with some big scores surely flowing.