In a high-scoring game at Dundrum, Larne’s largely inexperienced team were forced to endure an early batting onslaught as their opponents won the toss, batted and raced to 123 for one after just 14 overs.
A brilliant catch at deep mid-on from Neil Campbell, who also bowled seven tidy overs, brought Larne back into the game. They recovered superbly to bowl their opponents out for 202 with Hayes taking three wickets and Ken McKinley being the pick of the bowlers taking 1-36 off his seven overs. In the field Andrew Steward and Andrew Beatty performed admirably once again.
In reply, Richard Hood once again led the way with an assured 41. He and Burke put on 82 for the first wicket to raise hopes of an unlikely victory. Burke, though, was controversially given out caught behind for a fine 20. His dismissal triggered a minor collapse as Larne slipped to 90 for three in the 20th over.
Trevor Dempsey and Campbell then put together an excellent partnership to keep Larne in the hunt, but their dismissals effectively ended the run chase and the seconds were eventually dismissed for 153 to lose by 49 runs. The match-ball was kindly sponsored by the Curran Court.
The team returned to winning ways on Sunday with a comfortable 40-run victory over Ards at Sandy Bay. Home captain Trevor Dempsey won and the toss and amazed veteran onlookers by electing to bat first on a damp wicket. The surprise tactic looked to have backfired as Larne lost wickets regularly as they struggled to just 83 for seven in the 25th over.
However, an extraordinary unbroken eighth-wicket partnership of 63 between Mike Lyle and David Hayes changed the course of the match. Hayes led the way with a blistering 46 not-out, smashing five boundaries and one six in conditions his team-mates had found extremely difficult to bat in. The Glynn man also ran superbly between the wickets and deserves to be considered a genuine all-rounder after his highest score for the club.
Larne’s eventual score of 146 for eight from 35 overs was far more than they could have hoped for and it proved too much for the young Ards side. Lyle delivered with the ball and a good spell of seam bowling left him with impressive figures of 4-20. Dempsey was again in brilliant form behind the stumps as he picked up his second sharp stumping of the weekend, while Wetherhead had a curious day in the field as he grabbed two impressive catches yet missed two others.
Ards were eventually dismissed for 117 in the final over of the scheduled 35 overs to leave Larne comfortable winners by 41 runs.
On Saturday (July 28) Larne seconds will be looking to continue this year’s good home form when they face Donacloney. Practice and coaching continues every Tuesday and Thursday evening at 6.30pm. Anyone interested in playing cricket very welcome to attend.