The Mall, Armagh, 17th June 2017
Ballymena 3rd XI secured back to back league wins with a 6 wicket victory over Armagh 3rd XI at a sun-drenched Mall on Saturday.
This was a win built on some very fine performances by the younger members of the squad, with Josh Drain in particular showing what talent he has with both bat and ball.
Invited to bowl first, the opening bowlers, O’Boyle and Bell, at times struggled to find the right length on what quickly became apparent was a slow, low grass wicket. Nevertheless, the home side were kept in check and O’Boyle took the first wicket in the 5th over with the score on 16. Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals thereafter and with Josh Drain and Jack Archer sharing 4 wickets, the main scoring threat was removed from the Armagh side. Only skipper Wilson offered any significant resistance after that and when he was bowled by young Euan Watt, the home side were quickly bowled out for just 122 runs with Watt finishing with a remarkable 3 wickets for just 6 runs from his 2 overs.
In response, the Ballymena side started steadily against some accurate early bowling. The departure of skipper Crease for 14 saw the arrival of Drain to the middle with what was to prove the defining innings of the match. Hitting the ball crisply and confidently, Josh quickly amassed runs, and when he was joined by Martin, the result seemed in little doubt. With Drain finishing on an admirable 48, it was left to Martin to seal the victory with a 6 over square leg. All in all, a good team performance which augurs well for the rest of the season.
Next up for the 3rd XI is a tricky away fixture to Bangor, with the team hoping to continue the winning run for another week.