Photo 14987724 / Cricket © Steve Woods | Dreamstime.com
Victoria travelled to Larne on Saturday and were disappointed at having to field first on a sunny afternoon with the wicket looking to favour batting.
This did not deter the men from Lurgan as Joel Davison struck with the last ball of his opening over courtesy of a hind the stumps by Jordan Walsh - the first of many.
The Larne batsmen looked to rebuild, but there was soon controversy as a huge appeal for caught behind off a cut shot was given not out.
Undeterred, Victoria soon got their second breakthrough through Joshua McClune.
The introduction of Andrew Gray saw Victoria continue to make inroads as two wicket maidens in his opening three overs, both caught by Walsh, were sandwiched between a wicket from David Gilpin, and Larne were 68-6.
A half century stand for the seventh wicket frustrated Victoria, as the Larne captain found the boundary regularly before Gray found the edge and the gloves of Walsh once again.
Two quickies wickets from Davison, one courtesy of a catch from Walsh and clean bowling the other, had Victoria preparing for an early tea break with nine overs remaining.
However, this wasn’t to be as a frustrating period of play ensued as Victoria could not find the final wicket, with some luck, a run out chance squandered and an easy catch shelled in the covers, the last wicket stand out on a further 44 runs and looked to have taken Larne to a target that they would expect to defend.
The start of the second innings underlined Larne’s position of control as Victoria’s three batsmen most likely to occupy the crease so far this season were all blown away in a great opening spell of bowling and, at 26-4, Victoria had a mountain to climb to even get close to the target of 182.
The partnership of Garry McClune and Joshua Woods played sensibly to see off the remainder of the opening bowlers, as McClune found gaps in the field and Woods used the pace to run the ball through gully.
The pair brought up their half-century partnership as they decimated the Larne change bowler, both hitting back to back fours in the same over.
The 61 run partnership was eventually broken, after just under an hour, when McClune departed (33). Woods (27) continued with Bobi Babin, helping to push the score to 119-6, eventually departing following a crucial innings.
Babin had not taken long to get into his stride, plundering 15 from an over. Gilpin looked to support him, as Babin scored freely and pushed the score closer to the target. A mix up between the wickets should have seen Babin stranded but Gilpin selfishly crossed ensuring that Babin remained at the crease.
With the score at 140-7 the game was still in the balance. Despite this, Babin and Joshua McClune looked nerveless in the middle. When the opening bowler returned to try and seal the game for Larne, McClune managed to take 10 from the over, including a sumptuous cover drive.
Babin (51no), who had found the boundary regularly with three fours and three sixes, passed his 50for his maiden half century, as he and Joshua McClune (18no) saw Victoria across the line for a fine away win, by three wickets.
Victoria 2nd XI hosted Larne the previous Wednesday and batted first. A poor batting display left Victoria a mountain to climb as only Patrick McVey impressed with the bat, scoring 24 at a run a ball.
A string of single figure scores saw Victoria post 64 all out. Ben Johnston took two wickets, as Larne eased to an eight-wicket win.
Victoria got over their midweek disappointment with an impressive win on Saturday.
Muckamore 5th XI were asked to bat first. Early breakthroughs from Samuel Irwin and Darren Vennard, twice, gave Victoria a good start. Muckamore were accumulating runs despite regular wickets as Stuart Copeland took two and Ross Cockcroft and James McVey each took one.
The introduction of Matthew Green soon wrapped up the Muckamore innings as he struck twice in his only over, which included a run out.
Victoria lost two early wickets, but a big partnership between Vennard (45) and Patrick McVey (18) helped break the back of the chase, before Sammy Irwin (11no) helped to see Victoria over the line for a 4 wicket victory.
Larne 181 (J Davison 3-29, A Gray 3-33, D Gilpin 2-32)
Victoria 182-7 (G McClune 33, J Woods 26, B Babin 51no)
Victoria beat Larne by 3 wickets
Victoria II 64 (P McVey 24)
Larne II 65-2 (B Johnston 2-27)
Larne II beat Victoria II by 8 wickets
Muckamore V 119 (D Vennard 2-11, S Copeland 2-24, M Green 2-3)
Victoria II 120-6 (D Vennard 45)
Victoria II beat Muckamore V by 4 wickets