ACADEMY Cricket Club’s third win of the season lifted them off the foot of the NCU Section 2 table and brought them to within striking distance of stablemates, Larne.
The Sandy Bay men, without a game last weekend, have 16 points from 13 outings, just four points ahead of Academy, but with a crucial match in hand. These two clubs, along with bottom-placed Cregagh, will be fighting for their Section 2 survival in the weeks ahead.
So this weekend’s clash between Larne and Academy is a big one. A win for the Hydepark visitors would plunge the home side into deep relegation waters.
On Saturday Academy made full use of home advantage at Castle Grounds when they defeated Millpark by three wickets.
The County Down lads opted to bat first, but were restricted to 121 all-out in 40.1 overs, due mainly to some fine bowling by Michael Greenlees and Michael Warke who each claimed three wickets. They were backed by sound support from Adam Montgomery (2 for 28), Chris Halliday (1 for 18), and Andrew Palmer (1 for 22).
Stephen Fawcett led the run-chase with the top score of the afternoon, with his 41 including one six and four fours, while the next highest was skipper Palmer who was unbeaten on 17.
These two combined to record Academy’s best partnership when they added a match-winning 59 for the seventh wicket, after coming together when the hosts were in difficulties at 63 for 6.
Despite Saturday’s defeat to Ballymena II, Chris Magee’s 2nd XI’s Junior League Section 2 survival is fairly secure.
With two matches in hand they are six points better off than Carrick II, while Holywood II prop up the table.