Millpark’s title challenge was dealt a huge blow at Donaghadee on Saturday in a disastrous day from start to finish.
“One of our players failed to show up without any warning,’ said a disappointed Millpark skipper Paul McCart.
“We were immediately on the back foot as we had to drive to collect a replacement meaning, I along with two other players were 15 minutes late.”
This meantDonaghadee bowled first on an extremely soft pitch.
With the skipper still on his way, Stu McCart joined Davy Glover at the crease and was first to go for six. The skipper now at the ground, went in at 3 but with his concentration clearly affected, was next to go for a rare duck.
This brought arguably Millpark’s strongest batsman to the pitch, Ryan McCart and he struck the ball cleanly around the picturesque ground.
However he went for one big shot too many and was cleaned bowled. Ben Talbot joined Glover and the pair rebuilt the innings before Talbot was caught behind for 21.
Glover was next to go very quickly after, controversially being given run out, when Dee supporters and Millpark players alike felt he had made his ground.
At this stage Millpark looked like struggling to reach 100. But the hero of the victory against Dunmurry, John Simpson had other ideas.
Batting at 8, Simpson immediately took the attack to Donaghadee and stroked the ball beautifully to all parts to finish with an excellent 30. Millpark concluded their innings on 130 with the feeling in the dressing room that they were 10-15 runs short.
Donaghadee made a rapid start racing to 34 for no loss off 7 overs and it looked like they would cruise to victory. Young Harry Lockhart was introduced into the attack and made immediate inroads, removing both openers in the same over, both caught at long on by Ryan McCart.
Next over, Glover removed the skipper McCluskey for nought and Dee were now 3 down. Glover was replaced by Jason Maxwell and he took a wicket in his first over and then Ian McCart took one in his second over. At drinks Donaghadee were 65-5 and the game was in the balance.
The skipper Paul McCart brought himself into the attack, with the off spinner taking a wicket with his first ball to the left-handed McNamera.
Stu McCart was now bowling at the other end and it was he who removed the dangerous Walton.
The game was going to go right to the wire and Dee needed 10 with one wicket remaining.
By the time the skipper bowled the 39th over they needed 3 to win. A dot, a single, another dot, then criminally a wide down the leg side, which they ran, to leave Dee victorious by one wicket.
The pick of the the bowlers was 14 year old Harry Lockhart, 2-25, who continues to improve with every game.
. ‘To be honest the game was lost in the car park and that is extremely frustrating,” said skipper Paul McCart.
“As a small club we want to encourage new players and give them chances and we have been let down at an important time in our season.’
Millpark will be hoping for an improved batting performance against Monaghan at Banford Green on Saturday.
The players won’t need reminding that Monaghan defeated them earlier in the season and with only three games left, Millpark really need to win them all!