Lurgan’s challenge for Ulster Bank Section 1 honours got off to a poor start with a thumping 8 wicket defeat to Downpatrick at an unseasonably cold Strangford Road on Saturday.
Put into bat, openers Jack Harrison and new signing Teddy Tully got the innings away to a steady start on a wicket of variable bounce and not surprisingly one where the ball wasn’t coming on to the bat.
They had taken the total to 20 when Harrison departed for 8, edging a rising delivery from Ross Boultwood to keeper Craig Boultwood who hung on to a fine catch.
Three more wickets fell with the score still on the same total. Firstly Tully, who had started his first game for the club confidently, was adjudged lbw for 5 moving forward to a delivery from Graham.
Then the Boultwood combination struck again as Callum Grieve chased a delivery moving away from him into the keepers’ gloves. And with the score still on 20, Richard Clarke let his first ball go only to see it uproot his off stump.
The visitors were in serious trouble as Peter Maxwell joined professional Niranjan Godbole in the middle and the experienced duo gradually seemed to be steering the Town side out of trouble. They had moved the score on to 63 before Maxwell was on his way back to the pavilion for 24, his stumps having been shattered by a yorker from Yeates.
The end of the Lurgan innings was not far away and came in the 29th over, as the last four batsmen all failed to trouble the scorer leaving professional Godbole stranded unbeaten on 30.
To have any hope of winning Lurgan needed to strike early and a chanced single that was never on saw Downpatrick opener Wade run out without facing a ball, thanks to a superb direct hit from Peter Maxwell fielding in the slips.
Professional Patil joined Dale Mullan and they slowly started to eat into the Lurgan score.
The only other wicket to fall was that of Mullan who was superbly caught at slip by Godbole off the bowling of Maxwell for 16 with the total on 42.
This was the signal for Patil to accelerate the scoring, hitting two sixes towards Strangford Road and a four before bringing the game to an end with a boundary in the 17th over.
As well as missing some unavailable first team players, for too many other Lurgan players the season never really started today and a dramatic improvement will be needed if the team are to challenge for honours this season.
Lurgan were due to play Saintfield at Pollock Park on Monday, but the game was called off due to heavy overnight rain.
n Lurgan Ladies cricket practices begin this Thursday 5th May at 6.30pm at Pollock Park. Last year’s league champions will again be captained by Hannah Grieve and begin the defence of their title with an away fixture to North Down on 22nd May. Any new players wishing to join the side should contact Sandra Grieve on 07919122959’.