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Larne 1st XI v Dungannon - 20/08/2016

Larne cricket club First XI entertained Dungannon in their last league fixture of the season, looking to sign off with a win. The Dungannon captain won the toss and asked Larne to bat on a dry pitch, his decision seemed vindicated whenever Larne stalwart Eddie Wilson chased a wide delivery and was caught behind for 2, Chris Dempsey soon followed, when a booming inswinger castled into his leg stump. Larne were in further trouble when Trevor Dempsey got a vicious delivery that spat off a length and he was out, caught and bowled. Fortunately for Larne, Jonathan Baxter remained solid throughout, mixing rock solid defence with some glorious stroke play. Baxters first scoring shot was a towering straight six, which was to be the first of several on the day from the former Larne captain and a sign of things to come. Baxter found ample support from Michael Kennedy and the pair set about building a big score for the home team, Kennedy cracked some lovely boundaries as the Larne scoring increased, but just as he looked set for a big contribution, he like Dempsey before, got a delivery that jumped off a length and he was out, giving the bowler a simple return catch. Neil Campbell came and went quickly leaving it to Charlie Cloke to join Baxter, who by this stage had passed fifty and looked well set for a big score. Cloke displayed maturity beyond his years, knowing that his job was to get the in form Baxter as much strike as possible. Baxter by this stage was in full flow and playing shots all around the ground, particularly harsh on anything slightly short. In their quest to slow his scoring, the Dungannon captain brought his opening bowlers back on, but this did nothing to stop JB. He hooked one short ball out of the ground to enter the nineties and showed no nerves as he motored towards his hundred. In the penultimate over of the innings Baxter reached the landmark with a single to mid wicket, to a raucous applause from the home crowd. After the celebrations died down, the fireworks continued as he smashed 19 runs off the next 5 balls he faced, including two further maximums to finish on 119 not out. The Larne innings closed with the scored on 192-5, with Cloke also not out on 18, showing his undoubted talent with the bat.

Dungannons reply got off to a solid start, with neither Barry McFaul or Reece Weatherhead getting any luck. The young bowlers both bowled with pace and control and can count themselves extremely unfortunate not to have picked up a wicket, despite beating the bat on numerous occasions. Charlie Cloke was introduced and made the breakthrough, when his slower ball totally outfoxed the batsman to pin him LBW. Dungannons batsmen continued to be solid and at drinks they had only lost that single wicket, with the evergreen Chris Adrian well placed on 30 not out. After drinks, Gaw went for spin at both ends and these changes brought immediate reward, with Gaw getting a wicket in his first over, with Chris Dempsey taking the catch at cover. Dempsey then got in the act himself, by bowling Adrian with an absolute cracker of a delivery which pitched outside leg, turned sharply and bowled him middle stump. Gaw had the dangerous Meeke well stumped by stand in keeper Kennedy and got his 3rd wicket when he bowled the next batsman, finishing with the tidy figures of 3 for 8 off his seven overs. Dempsey got his second wicket, courtesy of a sharp catch by Gary Moore as Larne closed in on the victory. Much to the partisan crowds delight, Gaw introduced Baxter into the attack and it was fitting that he took the final wicket of the day, with the last delivery of the innings, bowling the batsman with one that turned sharply. Dungannon finished on 114-7 at the end of their allotted overs, to leave Larne victorious by 78 runs, meaning they ended their successful league campaign unbeaten at home, winning 13 of their 14 matches.

After being presented with the Ulster Bank Section 3 trophy, Larne captain Gareth Gaw said that he was delighted with how his squad had played this season, picking out Eddie Hunter as the stand out performer, but highlighting the emergence of Cloke, Reece Weatherhead and Barry McFaul as one of the things that pleased him most. “We all know that Eddie Hunter has been unbelievable this season, but we have also been able to bring on 3 or 4 extremely talented youngsters this season, who I hope will continue to improve us as a club moving forward. We’ll celebrate tonight and then sit down and assess what we need to do to enable us to complete next season. We would like to thank our major sponsors ‘Rubys Bar, Larne’ for their continued support throughout the year.


LCC Twitter

Larne_CC Indoor Nets for all Senior Teams continue this evening from 8-10pm at Larne Leisure Centre. Hope to see everyone there #LarneCC
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Larne_CC RT @leadballooner: Great day with the @Larne_CC players and ex-players before, during and (long) after the final game of the season.
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