Simpson smashes two sixes to seal the victory

Millpark wicket-keeper John Simpson proved the side's star on Saturday as he smashed Millpark over the line to continue their chase for top spot. INBL1526-272PB
Millpark wicket-keeper John Simpson proved the side's star on Saturday as he smashed Millpark over the line to continue their chase for top spot. INBL1526-272PB
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Millpark’s John Simpson smashed two final over sixes to see off promotion-rivals Dunmurry in the most exciting style on Saturday.

Needing 11 to win off the final four balls, Simpson hit two in a row out of the ground to ensure the locals bounced back from the previous week’s disappointing Irish Cup exit.

The Millpark side that saw off Dunmurry on Saturday to make it five victories from their opening six Section Three matches. INBL1526-267PB

The Millpark side that saw off Dunmurry on Saturday to make it five victories from their opening six Section Three matches. INBL1526-267PB

Once again the toss was lost and unsurprisingly Dunmurry chose to bat on what appeared to be another batter friendly pitch.

In recent weeks, Millpark have allowed opposition batsmen to make quick starts and this week was no different with Coburn attacking from ball one.

With the more controlled Ross at the other end, carefully rotating the strike, the pair put on 72 in the first 15 overs before skipper McCart snared Ross with a well flighted off break. With Stevie McCart into the attack at the other end the slow men began to drag the game back and it was he who removed Coburn, excellently caught behind by Simpson for a well-crafted 62.

Another couple of quick wickets fell, allowing Hillis to join the vastly experienced Connelly at the crease. Both men began to find boundaries and 200 looked on the cards.

The introduction of David Maxwell, however, halted their progress when he caught and bowled the dangerous Connelly for 32. Hillis continued to run hard between the wickets before his exit in the final over to leave Dunmurry on 179-7.

Millpark opened the batting once again with the ex-Dunmurry man David Glover, who was keen to put the disappointment of his wicketless afternoon behind him, by scoring some runs.

He was joined by the skipper who returned to opening after a few weeks hiding amongst the tail. Both men started very steadily, taking few risks and at drinks were 61 for no loss. The run rate was increasing but with wickets in hand Millpark remained confident.

Dunmurry rotated their bowlers in the search of a wicket that might bring on the fabled Millpark batting collapse of the previous week.

In the 26th over, that wicket arrived, Glover LBW for a studious 40. Talbot and Maxwell went quickly and Dunmurry sensed victory, especially if they could remove the well-set skipper.

In the 35th over, they did just that when Paul McCart was well caught by Hillis for 53, with Millpark still needing 30 for victory.

Neil Reilly, Stu and Stevie McCart all lost their wickets for single figures in the scamper for runs and 30 off five overs had become 11 off the final over.

Jonny Breen and John Simpson were at the crease and Breen, the more experienced of the two, toe ended the first delivery for one.

The second ball was missed leaving 10 required off four balls. A few words of encouragement from Breen and Simpson returned to his position as Banford Green held its breath.

Opening bowler Arun ran in and with an almighty swing of the willow, Simpson despatched the ball over the trees for six. The game was not yet won and Millpark still required four from three deliveries. Simpson decided to finish it in one, repeating the trick with an even larger six, to leave Millpark victorious by three wickets with two balls to spare.

It was a great game of cricket and a great advert for Section Three.

Next Saturday, Millpark make the journey to Ards hoping to build on this result.

As always, the club are on the look out for players of all abilities, nets are on Tuesday and Thursday from 6pm onwards. Who knows, you could be the next John Simpson.