Armagh 2nds welcomed Saintfield 2nds to The Mall for the fifth game of their Junior League 3 campaign on Saturday.
Saintfield won the toss and elected to have a bat on the batsman friendly looking wicket. Armagh took to the field and skipper Dougan gave Johnny Morton the new ball to start the day’s proceedings from the cannon end, who continued his fine form with the ball putting the Saintfield openers under pressure from the first over.
Andrew Smyth took the Pavilion end for the day and carried in the standards of Morton by bowling a very tight over.
It wasn’t until Smyth’s second over of the day that the first wicket was taken with Smyth clipping the top of off stick. Morton continued to bowl with consistency and conceded little runs off his four overs.
Smyth then took another wicket which left Saintfield 32 for 3 and ended the day with 2 wickets under his belt.
Next to bowl was Stuart McCall who again continued to set the standards and was rewarded with a wicket which was thoroughly deserved.
The legendary and highly respected member of Armagh Cricket Club Andrew Walbran then stepped up to the Pavilion end to have a rattle at the Saintfield batsmen. Walbran’s sheer class with the ball prevailed with the ‘golden arm’ taking 3 wickets for very little runs going off him.
Replacing McCall was young Adam Woods, who is one of the rising stars of Armagh Cricket Club. He bowled on the money throughout his spell and with him taking wicket after wicket, finishing with figures of 4-14 off his 4 overs which ended Saintfield innings all out for 76.
With Armagh looking very confident, Dougan put in father and son duo Peter and William Hazelton to open the batting for the City men. Will started to punish the bad ball early on and it wasn’t too long until his dad Peter started to join in the party with the two of them hitting boundaries and rotating the strike.
After 10 overs Armagh were 57 for 0 and it was the 12th over that Saintfield claimed the wicket of William for a respectable score of 32. In at 3 was the captain Dougan to join Peter as they attempted to finish the job off. Peter was then stumped for a score of 30.
Andrew Smyth then came to join Dougan at the crease. It took another five overs for the pair to get the job done and Armagh were victorious by 8 wickets with Dougan finishing on 8 not out and Smyth 5 not out.
After the game Dougan said: “Again it is another win on the board for us putting us to the top of Junior 3 with five wins from five.
“It was also great to have Andrew Walbran back on the 2nds today and showing that he is still one of the best bowlers in the NCU.
“We now have a crucial must win game next Saturday against Holywood 2nds at Seapark to keep the title dreams alive with everyone knowing the importance of the game. We are ready for the challenge.”
Fergal Keenan – SONI Agricultural Liaison Officer
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