Armagh 2nd XI got their Junior 3 league campaign underway with victory over Templepatrick 2nd XI on The Mall on Saturday.
With William Dougan taking over the captaincy from Andrew Walbran for the 2017 season on the back of gaining double league titles, Andrew has set the standards for this young captain for the new season.
With William winning the toss he didn't hesitate to give his team a chance to put runs on the board and elected to bat first. Andrew Hoey and Peter Hazelton opened the batting for the Orchard county men.
Andrew started to knock the ball nicely whilst Peter playing a supporting role before being caught at point for 1.
This brought former 1st XI skipper and Armagh stalwart Mick Villiers to the crease with Hoey. Andrew and Mick started to rotate the strike and get runs on the board at a good rate before Andrew was caught for a respectable 45 which welcomed Sammy Wilson to come and join his brother-in- law Villiers at the crease.
Mick and Sammy both started scoring runs before Villiers got caught for 11. Wilson started pushing the run rate along whilst being supported by Michael Hoey who then got caught for a score of 5. Number 6 in the order was William Hazleton who takes after his dad Peter for his talent with the bat. Sammy was scoring runs and causing havoc for the bowling side before being bowled out for a solid 46 runs.
With the wicket of Wilson this allowed the big son Andrew Smyth to come and occupy the crease with the young Hazelton.
William started to get his eye in and was picking up singles, rotating the strike very well with Smyth. Smyth, who is renouned for his hard hitting style of batting, scored boundary after boundary, and with Smyth on 44 on the last ball of the innings he needed a six to get up his half century which was not a problem to him and he ended the innings on 50 not out and William Hazelton with a very strong 29 not out and Armagh set a score of 205 for Templepatrick to win.
With Armagh then taking to the field, Dougan gave the new ball to young Ben Mackey at the cannon end to start the defence of 205. Ben bowled very tightly the whole game keeping the run rate down and ended up only conceding 18 runs in his 6 overs. Templepatrick openers Campbell and Lee started to get comfortable and started to score runs at a quick rate with the duo hitting a partnership of 124 for 0 at drinks.
Johnny Morton then came on to replace Mackey and it wasn’t too long before the young bowler took the wicket of Campbell for a good 33 who was caught behind.
Morton and keeper Dougan combined for the second wicket, with Morton getting his second wicket in three balls, having Templepatrick's number three caught behind. At the pavilion end, Michael Hoey came on to the attack and bowled tightly for his 6 overs and taking the crucial wicket of Campbell who scored an impressive 78. At this point of the game Templepatrick were struggling to score many more runs.
Andrew Smyth was then re-introduced into the attack and picked up 4 wickets with his figures for the day ending 4-35 off his 6 overs. Sammy Wilson then stepped up and continued to set the standards of the Armagh bowling attack by bowling good line and length and keeping the run rate down for the County Antrim side before his hard work was rewarded by taking the a wicket to end the proceedings with Templepatrick scoring 174 of 29.4 overs meaning Armagh won by 30 runs.
After the game Armagh captain Dougan said: “It was good to finally get a game of cricket played to start of the new season. We were made work hard for our victory today and I cannot praise enough the fight and determination my team showed today to get over the line and get 4 points on the board with everyone in the team playing their part. We want to push on again this season to win the league and gain promotion for the 3rd year in a row.”
The seconds play next Saturday in the Intermediate Cup at home to Carrickfergus 2nds. Armagh II 204 (A.Smyth 50* A.Hoey 46 S.Wilson 45 P. Shepard 2-22) Templepatrick II 174 ( G.Lutton 78 A.Campbell 33 A. Smyth 4-35 J.Morton 2-34).
Armagh beat Templepatrick by 30 runs