Fourth XI triumph in high-scoring encounter

Cricket.
Cricket.

Ballymena 4th XI ended a run of three defeats with victory in a high scoring match against CSNI 4th XI at Stormont.

Electing to bat first, the Ballymena side got off to a sound start, with the openers Smith and A Crease taking the score to 68 after 10 overs when Crease was dismissed LBW for 43.

Although youngster Jack Spence fell shortly after, this only served to bring the attacking Ryan Crooks to the middle for what was to be the defining contribution of the Ballymena innings.

With Smith continuing to make steady progress until he too fell for 43, Crooks plundered the home side’s bowling, hitting 12 fours and 3 sixes, until he was caught in the deep just 10 short of a century in the 35th and final over.

Valuable contributions from C Crease with 20 and O’Boyle with 39 n.o. meant that the Eaton Park Fourth XI finished with an impressive 286 for the loss of 6 wickets.

In reply, the home side got off to a poor start, losing their opener to the bowling of Calum Crease in only the second over.

This, however, brought their young number three, J Pollard who put on a display of clean, hard hitting, leaving no poor ball unpunished.

Fortunately wickets continued to fall at the other end with Crease, Smith and O’Neill all finishing with 2 wickets each.

However the CSNI innings was all about Pollard who, despite a break in his innings, finished the day on a highly impressive 121 not out.

Nevertheless the Ballymena total was never really in danger and despite this contribution the home side still finished some 61 runs short on 225.

This leaves the 4th XI with a record of 3 wins from six matches and comfortably in the top half of the table.

The next match for the 4th XI is the return fixture against CSNI, at Eaton Park on Sat 2nd July when they will be hoping to build upon the momentum of this victory as the halfway point of the season looms.