It was a successful Bank Holiday weekend for Academy cricketers who notched up a league and cup double and secured a Senior League Section 1 pole position.
The action started on Friday when Donaghcloney were victims in a league fixture; then followed a trip to the Strabane area where Burndennett were dumped out of the National Cup.
Bottom of the table Donaghcloney lived up to their underdogs tag when they were thrashed by the home side, who romped home with 132 runs to spare.
When Matthew Palmer won the toss at Castle Grounds, he opted to take first knock and his lads responded positively by posting a formidable 253 in their 50 overs.
Andre Halbert led the run spree with 88, with support from Mark Shields (47), Francis Collins (32) and Chris Halliday (23). In reply, the County Armagh lads could muster only 121 scored in 31.3 overs.
Waqas Mohammad led the attack with 3 for 33, followed by Josh Stinson (2 for 12), Mitchell Atkins (2 for 20), Halliday (1 for 24) and Halbert (1 for 30), while Halliday caused the run-out with an accurate return.
That victory made it three league wins on the bounce, putting Academy top of NCU League Section 1.
The long journey north-west on Saturday proved to be no problem for Palmer’s lads who advanced to the second round of the National Cup with a resounding win by eight wickets against Burndennett.
Palmer again won the toss, but this time put the locals who were restricted to 150 in 46.1 overs. New Zealander Mitchell Dickeson returned the best bowling figures with 4 for 19, with support from Halbert (3 for 30), Atkins (2 for 45) and Stinson (1 for 25).
Shocks were in store for the visitors when Halbert and Palmer were back in the pavilion with the scoreboard showing 5 for 2, but then Atkins and Rory Thompson came to the rescue with an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 146.
Atkins just missed out on scoring the club’s first century of the season with 97 not-out, while Thompson had 35 not-out, as Academy coasted to victory on 151 for 2.
The win earns Academy a trip to north Dublin on June 6 to take on Rush, who scraped home by 9 runs against Templepatrick in round 1.
This weekend’s fixtures: Woodvale v Academy; Laurelvale II v 2nd XI, Intermediate Cup: 4th XI v Muckamore IV, home.