Ballymena Cricket Club First XI’s troubled start to the season continued on Saturday with a third straight league defeat.
Following relegation from the Premier Division of the NCU last season, the Eaton Park side now find themselves rooted to the foot of Section One after oppinents Woodvale won by 51 runs after Ballymena were set a target of 159 off 24 overs by the Duckworth-Lewis system following a rain disruption.
Woodvale were asked to bat and Ballymena got off to a pleasing first ten overs as Matthew Purse and Alan Dundas bowled tight lines restricting the batting side to 22 for 1. The next four overs , however were loosely bowled and the away side started to take advantage of some very poor bowling mainly from father and son partnership Michael and Sam Glass. Both struggled to find a rhythm and the Woodvale professional Kalbhor imposed himself on the home side. He went on to score a fine 121 not out and dominated the innings. Ballymena will be very disappointed with their bowling , which apart from Fergus Taylor, was ill disciplined and with their fielding which was comically poor at times. The target set was 257 but dark clouds gathered and the home team looked sky wards for redemption.
The rain did come and Ballymena came off the field with the score at 22 for 1 off ten overs.
When the rain stopped the computer gave a revised target of 159 off 24 overs. The home side went out all guns blazing to try and get the unlikely victory but fell 51 runs short. James McClean showed great purpose and not a little talent as he compiled a fine 43 but the home side never threatened to reach the total.
Ballymena travel to Downpatrick next week still without a win and in desperate need of a change in fortunes.
It has been a tough start for Ballymena Seconds as they find their feet in the Junior One league of the NCU.
After crushing Cooke Collegians in round one of the Junior Cup, Ballymena have lost their first two league games to Waringstown and, on Saturday, Lisburn.In a rain affected game, Ballymena batted first after losing a vital toss. Having been stopped twice during their innings, Ballymena made only 125 runs over 40 overs.
David Montgomery top scored with 33, and continued his excellent form from last year, while Neil Fullerton contributed a hard earned 21 runs.
With Lisburn’s innings reduced and requiring only 99 runs over 29 overs, they reached the total for the loss of 4 wickets and in the 21st over.
Owen Dick and Andrew Craig continue to bowl with accuracy and certainly were the pick of the bowlers.
Overall, it has been a baptism of fire and challenging start to the season for Ballymena Seconds, who will need to improve and become more consistent with bat and ball if they wish to compete at this level.
Ballymena 3rd XI welcomed Lisburn Thirds to Eaton Park in the first round of the Minor Lindsay Cup.
Captain Adam Pogue was away on 2nd XI duty, so Stewart Watt was stand in captain for the day. Batting first, Watt made a good start, blasting his way to 17 before being bowled by visiting captain Alan Darragh.
John Nicholl and Paul Campbell continued the onslaught, in a match which had been reduced to 20 overs a side due to inclement weather, with Nicholl making it to 40 and Campbell a very impressive 64 before being bowled by former Ireland international Neil Doak.
Matt Smith added 20, before débutantes Brian McGookin (17 not out) and Jamie Smyth (2 not out) got the score up to 185 off the 20 overs.
This was a very impressive score, but the Lisburn openers went about their task dutifully, and when Neil Doak passed 50 things looked as though they may end up rather close. However, a sublime spell of bowling from seamer Declan O’Boyle secured the win for the home side, as he finished with outstanding figures of 4 for 15 from his 4 overs, including a hat-trick.
This week the 3rd XI travel to The Mall to take on early season leaders Armagh II.