Eaton Park, 10th June 2017
Ballymena 2nd XI went into their 6th league game with just one win. A heavy 8 wicket defeat to CIYMS 2nds was disappointing apart from an excellent unbeaten half century by Neil Fullerton. This was followed by an agonising one wicket defeat by Waringstown 3rds when an impressive 105 not out from Trevor McBurney was not enough to ensure victory as Waringstown chased down 208.
So Ballymena hosted Muckamore looking to stave off a 3rd consecutive league defeat.
An excellent start was made when wickets from Owen Dick, Johnny Brown, Sam Glass and Andy Craig reduced Muckamore to 46 for 5. Muckamore batters Gill and Allen dug in to rescue the innings and the 6th wicket did not fall until 110 when Harry Cook trapped Allen lbw. Muckamore struggled to 143 all out in the final over, leaving Ballymena optimistic about chasing down a modest total. There were two wickets each for Owen Dick, Johnny Brown, Sam Glass and Harry Cook.
Muckamore bowled well early on to make run scoring difficult but by 20 overs Ballymena were still well in the game at 55 for 2, though the required run rate had risen from 3.5 to 4.5. John Glass was looking good on 31 but when he was stumped a terrible collapse ensued as Ballymena went from 55 for 2 to 72 for 7. Stewart Watt was batting well though and support from Anthony Frazer took Ballymena to 117 for 7 with 27 needed off the last 4 overs. Just as it looked like Ballymena might salvage victory and the Muckamore fielders began to sound agitated, the match swung back towards Muckamore. Allen bowled Watt for a well made 37 and then proceeded to bowl Craig and Cook in the same over to wrap up a 22 run victory for Muckamore with Frazer not out 21 at the non striker’s end. Ballymena were left to rue their inability to chase a small total as fluent 30s from Glass and Watt demonstrated that the pitch was not unduly difficult to bat on. Perhaps a relatively inexperienced batting line up contributed to the panicky middle order collapse.
The 2nds have now lost several close games and whilst solace can be taken from the fact that they are generally competitive in matches, there is an urgent need to get more points on the board.