After a compelling win last weekend against Donaghcloney, Ballymena seconds took on Derriaghy at Eaton park on Saturday.
Viewed as a tricky fixture by skipper Stephen Colgan, a sterner test was certainly on the cards for the in-form Eaton Park side.
Winning the toss Ballymena batted first, hoping to repeat the volume of runs produced last weekend.
On an off day for David Montgomery, it was Stephen Colgan and William Montgomery who produced the first partnership of the day. Both batsmen had to work hard for every run on an old wicket but did their best to punish anything loose from the Derriaghy attack.
Colgan ended up with 34, looking back in form at this crucial stage of the season. William dug deep for 26, and was joined by Richard McNeill who, from the start, played an aggressive innings, despatching the ball in a hurry to the boundary when the opportunity arose.
In an innings that included 3 sixes, Richard produced the best shot of the day, stepping out to hit a straight six that ended up taking a chunk out of the sight screens! He top scored with 37, while Simon McDowell chipped in with a useful 18.
Ballymena should have went on to total more but the middle order on this occasion did not fire, and they ended up with a below par score of 175.
Ballymena took to the field knowing they had to be at their best to protect their league position. Owen Dick struck first, clean bowling Derriaghy’s opening batsman, and Anthony Frazer from the other end took 3 well deserved wickets in a fine first spell from the Broughshane end.
Anthony who was an injury doubt throughout the week bowled exceptionally well swinging the ball and using the conditions to his advantage. Slower bowlers such as Simon McDowell and Andrew Craig were held back by skipper Colgan, but when Craig came on he bowled probably the best spell of the season to date. Craig took the vital wicket of Derrighy’s captain, Stuart Hegarty, and ended up posting fine figures of 8 overs, 3 wickets and 2 maidens for only 14 runs – a match winning spell from the ever improving club stalwart.
McDowell also bowled well, but needs more game time before the season ends. On one of his best days, Frazer took the last wicket posting great figures of 7 overs, 4 wickets and 1 maiden for only 16 runs.
Ballymena won by 40 runs and remain top of Junior 2 and wins from their final two games will guarantee promotion.