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Good Week For 2nds

Larne Seconds moved up to second in league table with a pair of impressive mid-week victories. Both matches were re-arrangements following rain postponed games. First they travelled mid-week to Cregagh. The match was notable for being the first time in living memory that the Seconds have arrived at the ground before their hosts. 

Despite the shock of arriving early and subsequent loss of the toss Larne managed to produce a brilliant performance in the field. They restricted Cregagh to just 78-7 from 20 overs. The whole side was on top form, diving and stopping boundaries throughout the innings.

Rees Wetherhead set the tone with the ball, taking an early wicket and conceding just three runs from his four overs. Cloak and Andy Steward excelled in the field, grabbing four fine catches between them. 

Almost each time Cregagh hit out toward the short boundary a Larne fielder seemed there to pocket a catch. Several wickets fell as the small but enthusiastic crowd cheered what briefly seemed a fine shot, only for a Larne fielder to intercept the ball as it went toward the line.

Kareer and Kerr both passed 20, briefly threatening to take Cregagh past the hundred. However the home side lost their way as late wickets caused the runs to dry up.  Campbell was on top form but it was Scott Wetherhead who was the best of the Larne bowlers. He picked up 3-17 from his fiery spell of bowling.

Larne were taken to victory by Derek McKinley, who who continued his excellent form by calmly scoring 28 not out with two boundaries.  Chris Lough and Cloak departed quickly before Neil Campbell smashed a quickfire 28 to take Larne to victory with eight wickets and three overs remaining.

The following Wednesday saw the side entertaining Bangor at Sandy Bay, this time batting first after again losing the toss.  McKinley's golden form deserted him as he popped up a catch from the first ball of the match. 

Baxter took the attack to the opposition, hitting three fours and one dangerous straight six before falling for a brisk 22. His dismissal triggered a middle order collapse as Chambers took 4-6 during a fine opening spell. Larne slumped to a poor 33-5 after just 8 overs and appeared in great difficulty.

The innings was revived by a magnificent 53 not out from Charlie Cloak.  The all-rounder made light of the difficult conditions during his sensible and chanceless innings .  He was well supported by home skipper Mike Lyle, whose 28 included one six.  The pair put on a splendid partnership of 85 for the sixth wicket as Larne reached a very competitive 120-6 from their twenty overs.

Bangor though set off confidently in pursuit of the target, reaching 44 for no wicket in the eighth over with the aid of some poor Larne catching. Two easy chances were put to ground as the home side struggled to take a wicket. Rees Wetherhead again bowled well without reward, conceding just 13 from his first three overs. 

Cloke though dismissed both of the Houstons to bring Larne back into the game.  Steven Murphy took a smart catch to make the important first breakthrough. His was to finish with a remarkable three catches, all expertly judged at cover. A difficult fourth chance was put to ground to spoil what was a still memorable evening of fielding for the youngster. 

Boyd reached 34 before the returning Jack Mitchell picked up his crucial wicket.  Mitchell also held an important high catch. Scott Wetherhead, who had made a rather underwhelming impression during his spell as emergency 'keeper, now go the chance to follow up his previous week's performance with the ball. He grabbed it impressively, taking 2-16 and troubling all the Bangor batsmen with his pace and bounce.

At the other end Dean Hodge saw out the match with a miserly series of dot balls. The final over of the match was completed in twilight as the home side triumphed by 42 runs.

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