Photo 14987724 / Cricket © Steve Woods | Dreamstime.com
Victoria entertained Drumaness Superkings in a top of the table clash in Lurgan Park.
On winning the toss, Victoria elected to bat on a sunny day. It became apparent early on that the wicket would not be as easy to score on as the previous week.
Matthew Parks and Robert Black effectively negotiated the dangerous opening partnership, before Black fell in the 10th over. Andrew Gray joined Parks at the crease as they built a good partnership based in rotation of strike.
The partnership was broken in the 21st over when Parks (18) was unfortunate to fall to a low catch of a well struck shot, with the score on 55.
The Victoria innings accelerated quickly, as new batsman Garry McClune found the boundary three times from his opening six balls, while Gray took the spinner for 26 in one over. Unfortunately, the partnership was short lived, but had taken Victoria past 100. Another useful partnership occurred, as Roshan Jose (20) constructed a useful innings, before recent hero Boby Babin came to the crease.
Babin (24) picked up where he left off last week, striking four big sixes in a short but destructive innings before he and then McClune (31) were both dismissed. Josh McClune (10) helped to add some more runs before the innings came to a close with a score of 184.
Victoria knew that their score would be chaseible, but that a good bowling performance may see them across the line. An uncharacteristically loose start with the ball made Victoria’s task harder.
The bowlers managed to pull back the run rate though and Josh McClune picked up the wicket of dangerman Cunningham. David Gilpin removed the big hitting number three batsmen during his usual tight spell of bowling and Boby Babin struck twice.
This left the Superkings needing a further 60 runs, at just under 5 an over with 4 wickets down.
The Drumaness number six batsman decided to take matters into his own hands and take the attack to Victoria in order to ease pressure by finding the boundary. The tactic worked, as despite a further wicket from Gray, Drumaness got across the line with two overs to spare.
Victoria 2nd XI took on Donacloney Mill IV on Wednesday on a hot summer’s evening. Donacloney Mill won the toss and decided to bat first.
Victoria bowled and fielded well and restricted Donacloney Mill to 97-7 in their 20 overs, with Ben Johnston (3-9) and James McVey (2-12) the pick of the bowlers.
Victoria's batting innings got off to a great start with 21 coming off the first over. A few quick wickets fell, but Darren Vennard (35) and Jamie Hanna (16) got Victoria close to victory, with Ross Cockcroft (7*) and James McVey (3*) seeing Victoria home with seven overs to spare.
This win brought Victoria 2nd XI to the top of the league, with five games still to play.
Victoria 3rd XI travelled to the seaside to take on Bangor IV in a mid table clash. Victoria began proceedings batting first with an opening pair of Caleb Boomer and Matthew Green, seeing out the opening few overs at a steady pace until Boomer (10) was bowled with the pair having put 24 on the board.
In came stand-in captain, Daniel Greenaway, who continued the early good work with Green, as the pair maintained a run rate of five an over until Greenaway (15) was bowled shortly after the drinks break with the score at 69-2.
Adam Stirling then arrived at the crease to partner Green and after getting his eye in after a couple of overs, the two of them began to accelerate the scoring putting on 92 in 9 overs. Green (63) fell to a magnificent caught and bowled in the 23rd over and with two overs to go Stirling (43no) and Geoffrey Davison (2 no) saw the game out to a total of 174.
Samuel Irwin and Jonny Irwin opened the bowling attack as Bangor attempted to respond to Victoria’s big total. Samuel Irwin struck early, taking two wickets for 19 in a very tight opening spell, as Bangor found runs hard to come by early on. However, Bangor's batters began to find space and some runs coming into the drinks break at 75-2.
After drinks there was a change of bowling attack with Stirling coming on to partner Green. Stirling immediately left his mark on the innings taking two wickets in his first over, with this trend continuing as he claimed six wickets for 41 off his five overs. Green (1-36) also chipped in with a wicket during this period.
Victoria turned to experienced heads to finish with G. Davison (0-3) and the returning pair of J. Irwin (0-42) and Stuart Copeland (0-20) to finish the game off in the last few overs restricting Bangor's resilient final partnership stand to 12 runs short of Victoria’s total of 174.
Victoria 184 (A Gray 47, G McClune 31, R Jose 20, B Babin 24)
Drumaness Superkings 186-5 (B Babin 2-24)
Drumaness Superkings bear Victoria by 5 wickets
Donacloney Mill IV 97-7 (J McVey 2-12, B Johnston 3-9)
Victoria II 99-5 (D Vennard 35)
Victoria II beat Donacloney Mill IV by 5 wickets
Victoria III 174-3 (M Green 63, A Stirling 43*)
Bangor IV 162-9 (S Irwin 2-19, A Stirling 6-41)
Victoria III beat Bangor IV by 12 runs