A century stand between Andre Halbert and Mark Shields laid the foundation for Academy’s emphatic Senior League Section 2 win.
Recently relegated Donaghcloney probably came as favourites to the Castle Grounds, but despite posting a fine 180 for 9 they were thrashed by eight wickets.
Home skipper Matthew Palmer’s decision to field seemed to have backfired when much travelled Charlie McCrum (62) and professional Mansel Mgabe (50) kept the scoreboard ticking over nicely, but the home bowlers kept plugging away.
Tops in this department was Waqas Mohammed with 4 for 35 off 10, with support from Halbert (2 for 22 off 10), David Greenlees ( 2 for 30 off eight), while a sharp piece of fielding by Andrew Magee allowed wicket-keeper Andrew Palmer to whip off the bails.
In reply the Hydepark lads lost their first wicket with 27 on the board when Magee departed for 12, but then came that match-winning second wicket partnership of 142 between Shields (60 not-out) and Halbert (90) as Academy finished on 181 for 2.
Club secretary, Jack Quinn, said: “After beating Armagh in our opening fixture, these back-to-back wins gets our league campaign off to the best possible start.
“When McCrum and Mgabe were in full flow the outlook looked bleak, but some accurate bowling kept our hopes alive.
“Andre Halbert has scored important runs for us in the pre-season friendly in Gilford, and again last week against Armagh, and he seemed on course for a century when he fell on 90.
“Mark Shields has had an excellent start being unbeaten in the two fixtures while scoring 97 runs.”
On Saturday Academy will be at home again when they entertain Drumaness in a league fixture.
The 2nd XI came out on top in the local derby with Templepatrick II at The Cloughan, where the winning margin was 58 runs in a Junior League Section 2 fixture reduced to 35 overs.
Brain Kelso (51 not-out), David Reid (42) and young Adam Kelso (41) were Academy’s top batsmen as they posted an impressive 199 for 6.
Andy McCrea kept home hopes alive with an unbeaten 62, but their innings closed on 141 for 7, with Andy Bell the visitors best bowler with 4 for 22.
On Sunday the Seconds have a home league fixture against CSNI II at Castle Grounds.