Posted: 3 weeks ago

Finalists!

Our Under 15s showed great resolve to reach the Graham Cup Final which will take place at Bangor this Friday night, starting at 6pm.

The boys faced a fancied Donacloney Mill side on their home turf on Monday night past.

Having lost the toss, openers Josh Parker and Ben Ewart started tentatively against the Cloney attack before losing Ben and Callum Wilson in quick succession. The partnership of Josh and Luke Crothers took the early momentum away from the home side with some hard hitting and strike rotation. A wide ball was chopped on to break the partnership as Jaxon Dines joined Josh at the crease.

At 57 for 3 in the 10th, the pair batted sensibly as Josh continued to anchor the innings. Jaxon’s departure meant that Josh needed to take responsibility which he did brilliantly, retiring for an excellent 50 with the score on 118 after 17.2 overs. With 22 balls remaining, 140 plus was on the cards however a determined Cloney side had other ideas as the innings closed on 127-7.

In reply, nerves took their toll as Cloney took 22 from the first 2 overs. As the boys settled, it was Josh with the breakthrough in the 4th and Alex Fielding’s introduction brought another wicket with 59 on the board on the 10th over. The batting side were on top of the required run rate and wickets in hand would have suggested it could be comfortable. As Cloney appeared to be in control, Joel Parker bowled their skipper to break a 50 partnership.

At 109-3 after 16.4 overs, it was “game on” as the North Down boys got their tails up. When Luke Crothers clean-bowled the other Cloney opener next ball, two new batters meant the balance tilted in North Down’s favour. A wicket maiden 18th from Luke meant that Cloney needed 18 runs from the last 2 overs with 5 wickets in hand. A cracking over from Jaxon meant that 13 were required from the last as the nerves jangled. Amidst the panic, Josh remained calm as the simple equation of 4 from the last proved too much as a yorker smashed the stumps.

A game that ebbed and flowed, but the boys’ determination and “never say die” attitude was outstanding. A couple of crucial partnerships and some superb bowling under pressure showed the potential this side has. Joel Parked conceded 17 runs in his excellent 4 overs of spin in the middle overs while Luke conceded just 15 from his 4. Special mention to skipper Alex Fielding who marshalled the troops brilliantly.

Thanks to Cloney for a cracking game and to umpire Brian Alexander for officiating

NDCC 127-7 (Josh Parker 50*, L Crothers 16, J Dines 23)

DMCC 124-7 (J Hall 37, A Ogle 22, H Stevenson 20, Josh Parker 2-24)

The club has won the Graham Cup twice, last reaching the final in 2010. Can the boys go all the way? Huge support for the final would certainly give them a head start in this showpiece final.

Good luck to the boys and coach Steven Crothers from us all!

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