Lurgan stun champions on return to top flight

Johnny Guy appeals for Lurgan. INLM18-715.
Johnny Guy appeals for Lurgan. INLM18-715.

LURGAN made a dramatic return to the NCU Premiership with a shock two wicket win over defending champions CIYMS at Pollock Park on Saturday.

Ground staff had done excellent work in making the ground playable for a 1pm start and the damp conditions left Town skipper Stephen Johnston with an easy decision to insert the opposition on winning the toss. Opening bowlers

John Guy and Charley Crasborn’s accurate deliveries made run scoring difficult for CI’s Dougherty and Burns and soon both batsmen fell victim to Lurgan’s attack, Burns being trapped lbw by Guy for 8 and Dougherty caught by

Godbole off Crasborn with the total on 19.

Boultwood and Moor moved the score slowly on to 49 when Boultwood was run out for 17. Stephen Lecky announced his arrival at the club with an exciting spell of pace bowling, taking out the CI middle order to finish with the excellent figures of 3 for 28 off his 10 overs. CI wickets continued to fall regularly and when John Guy was brought back into the attack he quickly polished off the lower order to turn in magnificent figures of 4 wickets for just 9 runs in 8.4 overs.

Paul Stafford bowled a mean six overs for 25 runs, being unlucky to only have the wicket of Khan for his efforts. CI were eventually dismissed for 110 in the 37 th over.

The soft underfoot conditions meant runs were going to have to be grafted out if the home side were going to claim the points. Opening batsmen Niranjan Godbole and Stephen Johnston started cautiously, but soon the runs began to come with Godbole in particular looking to be in good form. The total had reached 48 when skipper Johnston played across and was clean bowled to a ball from Hughes for 23. At this stage while run scoring was proving difficult off the

tight bowling of Khan and Hughes, few were expecting the unfolding drama ahead as the Town middle order batting folded, with no batsmen other than the openers reaching double figures.

However Godbole, having survived a difficult leg side stumping chance, was in no mood to give his wicket away and as so often in the past provided the backbone to the Lurgan innings. At 93 for 7 CIYMS must have thought they were in with a great chance of rescuing the game, and even at 105 for 8 the match looked like it could go either way.

However they were unable to dismiss Godbole who completed his half century and finished on 54 not out from 91 deliveries, hitting the winning runs in the 38th over.

So Lurgan win at the first attempt this season and can certainly feel pleased with their bowling performance against last season’s champions. An improvement in batting will be required however if any points are to be taken from North

Down on Saturday.