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Ballymena given rude awakening at Donaghadee

After a comprehensive win on Monday, Ballymena were brought back down to earth by a disappointing 9-wicket loss to Donaghadee on Saturday.

After losing the toss and being inserted to bat, captain Stephen Colgan’s good form continued, as he brought up another swift 50 partnership with Jack Gibson. Colgan dominated the early stages with a series of rasping pull shots and bludgeoned drives.

However, when Colgan fell for 45, with the score on 62, Ballymena found themselves struggling. Donaghadee’s green-tinged strip gave assistance to the home side’s change bowlers, and wickets soon began to tumble.

Though Gibson (13), John Glass (20) and the returning vice-captain William Montgomery (14) all made starts, none were able to go on to make the runs required for a competitive total. And when the middle and lower order collapsed – nos 5-11 between them contributed 11 runs – the braidmen were well and truly ‘up against it’.

Defending 130 was always going to be a tough ask, and it proved too much for Ballymena’s bowlers. Donaghadee’s openers attacked Ballymena’s seamers from the off, with some success.

Though some of Ballymena’s bowlers – particularly teenagers Owen Dick and Sam Glass – sent down probing deliveries, the team wasn’t able to apply the sort of relentless pressure required to defend a low total.

Sam Glass, Ballymena’s most attacking spinner, took Ballymena’s only wicket. A tight first over, and a good catch on the boundary by his father, dismissed Donaghadee’s opening batsman.

After the joy of Monday’s victory, Saturday’s defeat was sobering. However, it will hopefully act as a wake-up call to Ballymena that talent is not enough.

Ballymena’s next scheduled league fixture is against Laurelvale on 27 May – plenty of time to consider the lessons to be drawn from Saturday’s defeat. The team is good enough to win this league – but to do so, they will have to learn to fight an awful lot harder.