May 24, 2014 is a day that will live long in the memory of the members of Maghera Criccket Club, last Saturday seeing them them secure their first victory when Muckamore made the short Journey up the M2 to play them in a T20 challenge match at the Rainey pitches in Magherafelt.
In favourable weather conditions Maghera won the toss and elected to bat first with the opening partnership of Richard Scott and Andrew Conway getting things under way.
However, both failed to settle and were dismissed early for 1 and 2 runs respectively – proving that even for an experienced cricketer like Scott, opposing bowlers and the game itself never give a batsman time to settle. Scott however would eventually have his revenge.
The next pairing at the crease for Maghera set the excellent standards that quickly became the hallmark of their team’s performance. The 119 run partnership of Alfie Stewart and Archie Service consisted of a virtually immaculate 50 and 69 not out respectively before retiring from the crease.
In what was an excellent display of controlled batting Stewart hit seven 4’s and two 6’s from forty seven deliveries, whilst Service hit eight 4s and two 6s from fifty three deliveries. It was a performance that set an insurmountable target for the Muckamore team.
An additional tally of 14 not out from fifteen deliveries by new Club signing Salar Choudhry brought Maghera’s time at bat to an emphatic and successful end with 165-2 recorded.
Muckamore took the crease knowing it would take an outstanding performance to wrest the game from Maghera’s grasp. It was now that Scott’s opportunity for revenge arrived. In a devastating opening over, Scott took 3 wickets for the loss of only 2 runs, bowling L. Kirkpatrick for 2 and R. Hemphill and I. McCullaugh both for ducks.
The task became all but impossible for Muckamore when they lost batsman A. Woods for just one run from a vicious delivery from Archie Service and a quite sublime diving catch from Jonathan Douglas at point, to incredibly leave the visiting team 4 wickets down for three runs conceded.
Only three further runs were added before the wickets of D. Kennedy and K. Falls fell to the excellent bowling of Maghera youngsters John Semple and Ricky Winder as the home team continued to heap the pressure on the visitors.
Captain James Hood steadied the ship for Muckamore with a resilient and professional 16 run haul before being clean bowled by Maghera’s other triple wicket hero Mike McIvor, the wickets of D. Hall and T. Barnet quickly falling LBW from McIvor’s bowling for the addition on just one further run.
Youngster P. Skillen added one more run to his teams score before he was caught by Alfie Stewart from the bowling of Salar Choudhry, leaving B. Kirkpatrick not out on three and Muckamore dismissed for 51-10.
Club Chairman Rhys Jones and Vice Chairman Roger Talbot were understandably delighted, telling the Mail; ‘Everything about our approach today was excellent. We were hungry but not reckless in our batting, and patient and determined in our bowling.
‘Alfie, Archie and Salar were outstanding. But the entire team performance was magnificent. Richard and Mike, and all the young guys in the team bowled wonderfully, and our fielding today was simply second to none’.
‘The board would like to say a special thank you and welcome to Muckamore who like ourselves are building a team. We wish them the very best in their cricket and acknowledge their willingness to assist Maghera Cricket Club in our formation year. We look forward to a great friendship developing between our two clubs.’
Maghera: D. Jones, M. Semple (Capt), A. Service, M. Choudhry, A. Stewart, R. Jones, J. Douglas, R. Winder, R. Talbot, W. Kilpatrick, M. McIvor, A. Conway, R.Scott, S. Choudhry, J. Semple, J. McIvor, E. Choudhry.