Victoria Thirds travelled to the Cliftonville Thirds in the first round of the Minor qualifying cup at the weekend.
Captain Stevie Johnston lost the toss and Victoria were asked to bat first, a decision that proved productive for the home side as Paddy McVey went early bowled by a quick yorker.
Ben Johnston and Cameron Lyness set about repairing the early damage, but found runs difficult to come by. Cameron soon followed Paddy back to the pavil0ion, bowled by another vicious inswinging yorker.
The home side then changed bowlers and with the normally reliable Harrie now at the wicket, Victoria were hoping to put a partnership together, alas it wasn’t to be as Harrie went third ball, caught in the gully by a fine diving catch. This brought Caleb Boomer to the crease but he too departed in similar fashion being caught at point by another sharp catch.
Neither Blyton Pierre nor the skipper troubled the scorekeepers and although Ben was still holding up an end, he was fast running out of batting partners.
However, relief was to come for the embattled Lurgan men in the form of Josh McClune, displaying maturity beyond his age and unfazed by the quality of the bowling attack, he put much needed runs on the board and despite Ben falling after a brave innings, caught behind by the keeper, both he and Trevor Marshall managed to bat through the remaining overs, helping their team to a total of 58.
Victoria began with B Johnston and C Lyness, yet despite bowling well, they couldn’t break the resistance of the Cliftonville opening batting pair. Captain Stevie Johnston brought on C Boomer to try and mix things up and this proved a fruitful decision with Boomer trapping the batsman LBW first ball of the over.
Despite this success, Cliftonville were nearing the small total needed for victory; next on to bowl was J McClune at the other end but he too had no luck, so with a last throw of the dice, G Mullin took over from Boomer and used all his experience by setting a field to trap the powerful hitting Cliftonville batsman. This worked a treat as he took the bait and was caught on the boundary with a superb catch by the irrepressible Ben Johnston.
This was to be the final hurrah for the Lurgan men as the home side soon crossed the line without further loss, knocking Victoria out of the cup and winning by 8 wickets in the process.