A superb century by Lurgan opening batsman Stephen Johnston saw the Town side chase down an improbable win as they passed a Cliftonville target of 286 to record their first league points of the season with just over four overs to spare on Saturday.
Johnston scored 132, but amazingly his epic innings was overshadowed by young Cliftonville professional Dandekar who hit an unbeaten 199 not out. Dandekar, who is coached back home in India by Lurgan professional Niranjan Godbole, survived a dropped catch in his 60’s to go on and stroke the Lurgan bowling to all parts of the boundary and seemingly play his side into a virtually unbeatable position. The Lurgan position looked even more dire as the light got worse and a steady drizzle settled in over Pollock Park and slowed down the outfield. However, the conditions certainly didn’t deflect Lurgan’s Stephen Johnston and Stephen Chambers as their 176 run partnership for the 3rd wicket broke the back of the Cliftonville resistance. While Johnston dominated the partnership, Chambers continued on from his fine 86 at Derriaghy last week to post a valuable 60, until the partnership was eventually broken with the score on 210 with Johnstone being stumped. With Chambers departing a few runs later, it was left to Neil Anderson (40no) and Bruce Topping (23) not out to see the home side to victory.