Photo 14987724 / Cricket © Steve Woods | Dreamstime.com
Victoria’s First XI travelled to Larne on the opening day of the 2022 season.
Having enjoyed a successful 2021, the pressure was on Victoria to carry that form into the new season, despite a tricky away fixture.
On winning the toss, Victoria elected to bat but, despite losing an early wicket, looked to have made the right decision as Andrew Gray (22) made a promising start.
Gray’s dismissal in the 12th over led to a period of consolidation as Robert Black and Garry McClune ensured Victoria approached drinks with only two down as they gradually increased their own scoring rate with ones and twos, taking Victoria to 76-2 after 20.
Spin from both ends followed drinks, with the Black and McClune partnership passing 50, as they cleverly rotated the strike and began finding the boundary with more regularity.
After a partnership of 86, Gaw removed McClune (36) with the last ball of the 29th over, before Kennedy dismissed Black (32) with the next ball.
Roshan Jose and James McVey (20) were watchful early on, before increasing their scoring rates as they entered the final 10 overs of the innings. Both were dismissed pushing the scoring rate along, as Boby Babin (16*) finished off the innings, leaving Victoria on a very competitive 189-7.
Victoria’s bowling innings got off to the perfect start, as Andrew Gray struck with only the second ball, which was the beginning of a fantastic spell of bowling.
Gray claimed two more victims in his next over and was virtually unplayable as only two scoring shots came off his next four overs, as he claimed one more victim.
At the other end, Thomas Greenaway bowled a tight spell, picking up a wicket of his own, as Larne were reduced to 20-5 in the eighth over.
Boby Babin was introduced to the attack and, after some early season rustiness, claimed two wickets in an over.
Larne, however, were digging in and approached drinks with two experienced heads at the crease, before the introduction of David Gilpin provided an instant impact.
A third wicket for Babin and one for Roshan Jose finished off the Larne resistance and gave Victoria a commanding 125 run win to start off their season in style.
The Third XI lost out narrowly to Dundrum by 16 runs. Dundrum had got off to a good start with the bat before a great spell by Ben Johnston.
Johnston took his maiden five-wicket haul for only 17 runs, dismissing Dundrum for 101. Unfortunately, regular wickets and no big partnerships meant that Victoria came up just short with the bat.
Victoria 189-7 (R Black 32, A Gray 22, G McClune 36, J McVey 20)
Larne 64 (A Gray 4-8, B Babin 3-14)
Victoria beat Larne by 125 runs
Dundrum III 101 (B Johnston 5-17, M Green 3-21)
Victoria III 85
Dundrum III beat Victoria III by 16 runs