Bowlers pitch in, but Larne fail with the bat

Drumaness 102 (G Alexander 5-10)

THE cricket season got under way at the weekend, but it was a bad start for Larne, who are sponsored by the Curran Court Hotel, as they lost at home to Drumaness by 51 runs.

New skipper Gareth Gaw won the toss and asked Drumaness to bat first on a pitch which was in great condition after the efforts of Esler Burke over the last number of weeks. Things couldn’t have started any better for the home team as the visitors were reduced to 9-3 off six overs after a terrific opening burst by Robert McKinley and Darren King.

With the breeze at his back, McKinley bowled with plenty of pace and had the batsmen in all sorts of trouble and got his wicket when he bowled Deagen for nought.

At the other end, King bowled into the wind with superb control and picked up two wickets in his six overs, conceding only three runs. One wicket was courtesy of a fine catch at gully by Gareth Alexander.

After inflicting the initial damage, this pair were replaced by Chris Dempsey and Paul Ramsay, who kept the pressure on and conceded just 41 runs in their 20 overs. Ramsay was particularly accurate, going for just 11 runs in his spell and getting one wicket, while it was a mystery how Dempsey ended up wicketless after enjoying no luck whatsoever.

During this spell the experienced Mills and Gelston had dug in to ensure that there was no further damage and had edged the score to 87 before the partnership was broken by Alexander, who was introduced to the attack and quickly had Gelston stumped by Dempsey for 26. He soon bowled Mills for 27 and went on to take four wickets in five balls as Drumaness were dismissed for 102.

Larne were very satisfied with the performance in the field and were confident of chasing down this small target, but what followed was probably the most inept batting display of recent years. The damage was done by Mills and Gelston and after their 20 overs the game was all but over with Larne on 50-9, with Mills picking up five wickets and Gelston four.

The bowling was very accurate, but there were no demons in the pitch and although a couple of umpiring decisions seemed to go against Larne, the batting from top to bottom was very poor, with a succession of bad shots.

The last wicket went down with the score on 51, exactly half of the target, to complete a miserable day for the home side.

Larne will be hoping that this was just a rusty first outing of the year and will be looking to bounce back next Saturday when they welcome Dunmurry to Sandy Bay. The match ball was kindly sponsored by McKeens Butchers.

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