Graeme books last eight place

Graeme Hunter who made 59 not out on Saturday for Lurgan Thirds. INLM2412-226con
Graeme Hunter who made 59 not out on Saturday for Lurgan Thirds. INLM2412-226con
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A HALF century by captain Graeme Hunter helped Lurgan thirds secure a place in the quarter-final of the Minor Qualifying Cup.

They defeated Templepatrick by 10 runs in a keenly contested match at Ballyclare Rugby ground.

With opener Neil Kilpatrick (4) and the previous week’s batting hero Callum Gibson (1) both out cheaply, Graeme joined Nathan Crozier in the middle to to form the backbone of the visitors total of 146 for nine after their 30 overs were completed.

Following Nathan’s departure for 24, the visitors lost wickets at regular intervals with Alan Johnston (13) the only other player to reach double figures. However mention should be made of young Mark Hutchinson who retained his wicket at the end of the innings allowing Hunter to score some valuable runs.

Set a target of 147 to win, Templepatrick openers J. Fettis and M. Stevenson set about the run race in uncomprising fashion notching up a half century opening stand.

However the return of Matthew McCormick saw the quickie achieve the breakthrough Lurgan needed as he dismissed Fettis, out to a spectacular diving catch by Sam Harrison running in from the boundary, for 28 in his final over.

Three home wickets fell quickly after that, Alan Johnston bowling Sheperd (5) and Davidson for a duck and Nathan Crozier removing S Wightman, also without scoring.

Stevenson was then joined by S. Fettis and it looked again as if Templepatrick were batting themselves into a winning position However Callum Gibson, brought back to bowl out his overs at the end of the innings, claimed the vital wicket of S. Fettis for 37 and then whipped the bails off to dismiss top scorer Stevenson (38) after the home team’s opener set off on a suicidal run to leave Lurgan 10 runs in front and into the quarter-final.

Callum Gibson turned in the best bowling statistics for Lurgan, his three wickets costing 28 runs while Alan Johnston returned two wickets for just 14 runs and Matthew McCormick, Nathan Crozier and Graeme Hunter claiming a wicket each.

The ball sponsor for Lurgan’s weekend games was Alan Jones.