Firsts end on a winning note to finish 6th in league
Armagh Firsts finished the season winning 3 of their last 4 games to finish sixth in what could be described as a "topsy turvy" season. Armagh entertained Larne in their final fixture and dismissed them for 157, largely thanks to Andy Walbran (4-22) and Mark Stinson (3-37). A total of SIXTY extras didnt help the cause which was the main downfall of Armaghs eason this year, giving the opposition to many freebies. In chasing the total, Armagh completed the target with ease using only three batsmen. Michael Villiers ended a solid season with a quick fire 32, leaving Dean Lester (55 not out) and Colly Russell (54 not out) to finish the task at hand. Colly finishing quite a magnificant season in style with two boundaries. An end of season report to follow on the ups and downs of the season.
The Seconds ended their season with a T20 at Templepatrick and with a make shift team, ran Templepatrick close coming up 4 runs short chasing 102 to win. Paul Scowcrofts men have had an excellent season and finish in a respectable 3rd.
The Thirds have a few games left it what has been a good season for them having only lost 3 times, and if they get their final our games have a chance of the league title.
Firsts win two on bounce to keep hopes alive
Two wins in three games allowed Armagh to practically secure 6th place in the league with one game remaining. After a rocky season Armagh were hoping to finish on a high and wins against a lacklustre Dunmurry and Junior Cup champions Cooke Collegians, which was with half a team due to many players with rugby commitments. They lost in a T20 fixture with Cooke Collegians. With one game to go, Armagh will be hoping to finish on a high awaiting the decision of the NCU for the new league structures next year.
The Seconds, with their steady season have won and lost recently and sit in third place with one game to go.
Armagh Thirds have had a solid season and with a number of games still be arranged, if all played, the thirds have the potential of finishing in the top two.
Firsts face uphill battle at the closing end of the season
Things got from bad to worse for Armagh as they slipped to 7th in the table after another defeat, although against table topping Academy they did push them close. Not knowing for definate were they need to finish in the league to secure their posotion in the league next year, Armagh knew a win was needed. After some early morning rain the match was reduced to a 43 over game. Armagh won the toss and elected to bowl first. With what can only be described as a "shocking" outfield, runs were found hard to come by. You could have hit the ball along the ground like a bullet and still only get 1 or 2 runs the grass was that thick and cuttings still visible on the ground. Anyways back to the game. Academy posted 176 for 7, with some late hitting getting them to what was still a target Armagh could chase. Tight bowling from the ever reliable Alan Whitcroft and the return of David "Bunky" Bullick which was much appreciated by the rest of the team, kept Armagh in with a chance of victory.
Armagh got off to a slow but steady start. They kept wickets in hand but when they slipped behind the run rate and with runs already hard to come by, things werent looking so comfortable. With guys coming in looking to boost the run rate it inevitably brought wickets thick and fast. Opener Dean Lester was being patient and when he was at the crease with Bullick, looked about attacking any bowling. They brought Armagh back into the game with Lester (43) and Bullick (35) the main contributors of the total. Some late hitting from McCarter give the Armagh hopeful a glimmer, but eventually Academy ran out winners by 23 runs, much to their relieve as it showed at the end of the game. Armagh have four games left against fellow struggling teams and will be looking to win at least three of these games.
Armagh Seconds entertained Cregagh Seconds on the Mall. Armagh posted 176-4 in their allotted overs thanks to the ever reliable skipper Paul Scowcroft with 68 and a brisk 38 from Seamus Crowe in the closing overs. Extras were to cost Armagh as Cregagh eased to the total with 5 wickets in hand. Although their is no promotion in their league this year, they should be safe enough and still occupy a hard fought contest at the top of the table with as little as 6 teams able still to win the league.
On Monday 15th August, the Thirds travelled to Eaton Park for a T20 league game. Ballymena could only muster 83-9 thanks to excellent bowling from skipper Keith Wilson (3-8) and Johnny Morton (3-11). Armagh only lost two wickets in the chase with Matthew Brownlee finishing on 29 not out and Simon Cardwell a valuable 23 runs. This has lifted Armagh to third in the table.
Laurelvale complete double over Firsts
Armagh Firsts yet again slipped to a defeat in a reduced overs match against table toppers and local rivals Laurelvale. After a two hour rain delay the match finally got under way with the match being reduced to a 32 over game. Armagh were asked to bat on what was still a good batting track. Another poor batting performance against some tight bowling restricted Armagh to 140-8 in their allotted overs. Colly Russell was the only batsmen of any note with 55, having sustained a hamstring injury half way through.
In reply Armagh managed to chip away at wickets, but in the end wasnt enough and slipped to their 5th straight defeat. Armagh will have to pull things together in the crunch stage of the league, with possible restructuring deciding were they will be placed next year.
Armagh Seconds won by 9 wickets on the Sunday against Cooke Collegians. This was a 20 over game and they chased 111 for the win with 4 balls to spare. Andy Walbran top scored with a patient, yet match winning 60 not out which has lifted Armagh to joint leaders in Junior League 3, and have every chance of promotion this year.
Misery continues for Armagh teams
In recent weeks Armagh Firsts have found themselves on the slippery road towards the bottom of the table, getting themselves into a possible relegation battle they didnt predict at the start of the season. Four defeats on the bounce hasnt helped the situation. A defeat by local rivals Portadown, who are also struggling in the league is what they didnt need. Portadown batted first on a sublime Summers day on the Mall which was in tremendous order. They totalled a mammoth 325 for 6 thanks to a quite superb 107 not out from J Edgar. Armagh knew they would set the record books alight if they chased it down but always knew it was possible. The quick wickets of the top order set the writing in stone, only for the lower order to wag again with Alan Whitcroft top scoring with a quickfire 55. Armagh eventually losing by 71 runs.
The next day on another scorcher, a tired Armagh team batted first against a useful Templepatrick team. On a batting track, Armagh could only muster 178 which was well below par. Templepatrick got the total with 10 overs to spare, as Armagh wilted in the heat and only got 5 wickets to show for it.
The following weekend gave Armagh a chance for revenge as they travelled to Templepatrick, on what was another hot and humid day. Although the bowlers didnt bowl badly, Templepatrick totalled 260-7 in their 50 overs. Highlights of the fielding being two direct run outs from Gareth McCarter and Mark Stinson. Harry Doyle bowled well at the start with no reward. Armagh knew this would be tough to chase and on a dodgy pitch never really got going eventually losing by 116 runs. Colly Russell top scoring with 41.
This leads Armagh to their most recent and possibly a costly defeat by Drumaness who would be fighting for a top 4 finish. In Match 2 situation, it was a 20 over game, which seemed to make no difference as Armagh struggled to 98 all out were batsmen just gave their wickets away and poor running was the order of the day. With rain showers expected Armagh were hoping to pull an unlikely win out of the hat, but to no avail. Eventually losing by 8 wickets and 4 overs to spare.
An awful two weekends for the Firsts, with table toppers and local rivals Laurelvale awaiting them next. Armagh will be hoping to put a dent in their title hopes and get themselves out of the dorp zone.
Armagh Seconds recorded two defeats in recent weeks to Cregagh and Templepatrick. They are still in contention for promotion with the league table spicing up with six teams all in the running for those top two places. Armagh have two games this weekend against top of the table teams and wins will help them push for promotion in what has been a good season for a new looking seconds team.
Mixed fortunes for all teams in recent weeks
The Firsts found themselves on the winning and losing side in past two weekends. Defeat was inflicted at Drumaness in what could have been an embarrassing scoreline. Armagh slipped to 31-6 in what can be described as ordinary bowling on a dry, crumbling pitch. Mark Stinson dug in deep and began to push the score in the right direction with Boyd and Whitcroft, until them two went cheaply after much resistance. This brought Stuart Lester to the wicket with Armagh 74 for 8. These two then batted to the end of the innings, not after a few rain showers which levelled out the wicket making it batsman friendly. Lester was the more aggressive hitting 72 not out from 46 balls and Stinson playing a more controlled innings finishing on 43 not out, both top scores for the senior team. Armagh finished on 178-8 giving them a real shout of a win.
With the pitch now flat and no movement, Armagh bowlers struggled to make any real inroads into the Drumaness line up only taking two wickets, with Gelston and Walsh both recording half centuries. The margin of defeat was 8 wickets.
Armagh bounced back the following weekend (16th July) against the much improved BISC team. Armagh won the toss and batted first on a hard track which seemed batsman friendly and this was reiterated with Doyle and Villiers getting them off to a positive start. These two then fell with the score on 43. This brough Russell and Steenson to the crease when the weather set in. Heavy rain brought the game down to a 33 over match which hindered Armagh knowing they had to go out and attack. Russell scored another half century, ending on 72 and good support from Harry Doyle (25 not out) in the latter overs got Armagh to 180-7 in their 33 overs.
Armagh needed to bowl well and got off to a good start with Stinson getting a wicket with his first ball. Once again, the introduction of Lester had a big impact, as he picked up 4 wickets for a miserly 15 runs in his 6 overs. Great fielding was the order of the day to and great catches from Stinson, Boyd and the two Doyles helped Armagh to a closer than expected victory. The margin of the win was 27 runs. Both team deserves a lot of credit for wanting to play the game and clearing the heavy rain fall that fell onto the square, allowing the game to be played.
Armagh Seconds in the past few weeks have recorded victories against Millpark and title contenders Academy. They defeated an 8 man Millpark team in style with a victory of 10 wickets. Ricky Morrison scoring 71 not out in chasing down 95 for victory.
In a close game against league leaders Academy, Armagh came out on top by winning by 2 wickets. This has gave Paul Scowcrofts team a real chance of promotion this year and the next few games will be interesting.
The Thirds, like the Firsts have won and lost in the past few weeks. They defeated Ballymena Fourths and Larne Thirds by 3 wickets and 55 runs respectively. Although a defeat to Holywood most recently, Armagh still sit in the top 3 of the table and can be proud of this playing with a mixture of youth and experience all season.
Wins for both Firsts and Seconds
Armagh Firsts won two games in two weekends, with two comfortable wins over relegation strugglers Dunmurry and Larne. The first win over Dumurry was short and sweet. Armagh dismissing Dumurry for a paltry 89. This was helped with 4 wickets from Stuart Lester and 3 from Alan Whitcroft for very few runs. Armagh knocked off the total with ease with plenty overs to spare, winning by 6 wickets.
On the 2nd July, Armagh started the month well with a 83 run win at a sun drenched Sandy Bay. Batting first Armagh made good use of conditions, compiling 239-7 in their allotted overs. Every batsman contributed, with youngsters Harry Doyle and Matthew Steenson scoring 66 and 53 respectively.
Armagh were made to field the full 50 overs with Larne having no real intention of going for the win after drinks. Finally ending on 157-7 in their 50 overs. All bowlers bowled well, but once again 45 extras was the only low point of what was a good team performance.
Armagh Seconds on the same day made light work on Millpark Seconds (who only had 8 players) winning by 10 wickets. Armagh had Millpark 6-4, but somehow, late hitting got them to 89 all out. Simon Cardwell and Reggie Stinson picked up 3 and 2 wickets respectively. In the chase there was no hanging about as Ricky Morrison punished the bowlers to all parts of the Mall, with a magnificant 71 not out and skipper Scowcroft ending on 23 not out to raise Armagh to joint second in the league with promotion firmly in their sights.
Monday 20th June 2011
The Firsts finally got their Junior Cup Quarter Final against Woodvale 2s completed on Monday, although the result was far from impressive from Armaghs standards. Having started the game on Saturday until torrential rain called it off for the rest of the day, Armagh had Woodvale 74-5, needing to return on Monday on this score to complete the game. This was courtesy of 3 quick wickets from Alan Whitcroft, who would in fact be unable to return on Monday night due to work commitments, before the rain came in.
Returning on Monday, needing only four wickets, Woodvale got another 40 runs before being all out for 114. This seemed a reasonable score on a slow, damp wicket that was at one stage under water on Saturday night. Armagh had to draft in no little than three sub fielders due to three of the original eleven unable to return due to work commitments or injury. This left Armagh needed 115 with only 7 wickets to play with, but still achievable. What was to follow was a major wake up call for Armagh. Cutting to the chase Armagh were skittled for 74, with only three players reaching double figures. Armagh failed to play the slow bowlers of Woodvale, which included 4 LBWs.
Although this now allows Armagh to try and catch up and concentrate on the league it was a majorly disappointing defeat and left most players very deflated. Armagh will need to get straight back up again if they are to stay in the already competitive league next year and need to start with a win on Saturday against Cooke Collegians.
Saturday 18th June 2011
Armagh Seconds recorded a memorable win against a strong Cliftonville side at Mallusk. In a low scoring affair, Armagh bowled out Cliftonville for a mere 94 thanks to wickets from Seamus Crowe (4) and Paul McCord (3), ably supported by Andrew Smyth with two.
With a low target to get, it seemed easy for Armagh. Although when they slipped to 32-6, the game looked dead and buried. In form batsman and skipper Scowcoft had other ideas as he and Adam Marshall set about getting Armagh back into the game. Adam Marshall played some big shots including a towering 6 over mid-wicket, until being caught for 20 trying the same shot again. With the scores getting closer, Armagh were on 86-9, and the ever reliable skipper lead Armagh home with the one wicket remaining, thanks to Michael Hooks who played his part in the end. This was a much deserved win for a youthful second eleven, who now sit third in the league.
Saturday 11th June 2011
Armagh Firsts slipped to their second league defeat in what can only be described as a "heated" and "farcical". Armagh lost the toss and were asked to field first. After two early wickets from Mark Stinson, it brought Greenlees to the wicket and he would take to the pace bowling with great affect, hitting it to all parts in a quickfire 50. Harry Boyd and Alan Whitcroft were introduced to take the pace of the ball and both bowled well with Boyd getting Greenlees out and Whitcroft picking up 2 wickets in their ten over spells. "Heated" is used as a rift between an Academy batsman and our wicketkeeper halted play for a short period of time. With Academy struggling, their professional, P Ahire, had got them back into the game passing 50. Coming near the end of the innings brings in the farcical side of things. The Academy professional had sustained a hamstring "injury" and a couple minutes later was a back "injury" in which he called for a runner. He went on to make 83 not out. Academy finished on 248 for 8 in their 50 overs.
Armagh started brightly, despite losing Philip Doyle for 8. This brought the inform Colly Russell to the crease alongside Michael Villiers who was also in form. They played the Academy bowlers with ease and passed the 100 partnership in no time. To the disgust of the Armagh team, Academy brought on their professional P Ahire, who had suffered from an injury earlier in the game, and went on to bowl his 10 overs, somewhat freely. To add to mix, he was the player who ran out Michael Villiers with a direct hit, after sprinting 20 yards to pick up and throw with ease. This was followed with a batting collapse and left Armagh falling short by 48 runs. The team were distraught and will need to pick themselves up for the next game. Mention must go to Colly Russell and Michael Villiers who both hit 50s. Armagh will be in Junior Cup action next week against Woodvale Seconds as it reaches the Quarter Final stages.
Saturday 4th June 2011
This is a day that Armagh Cricket Club will want to forget as all three senior teams were defeated. The Firsts travelled the short distance to local rivals Laurelvale in what proved to be a high scoring encounter on a decent batting track. Having produced excellent fielding displays in the last two matches, it was the fielding that cost Armagh the game. Laurelvale posted 289 for 6 in their 50 overs, Stuart McClelland hitting 113 and Daryl Henry 64. Both were dropped early on, and this proved costly. The only bowler of any note was Mark Stinson who took 3-42, taking out the top 3 batsmen early on.
In reply, Armagh knew it would be an uphill struggle having been in the field for 50 overs. The innings started with a lot of intent with Philip Doyle and Michael Villiers looking to score quickly. Once again, Colly Russell was in the runs with 87 in a fine display of batting. Harry Doyle was good support getting 30, and some late hitting from Mark Stinson (31) and Michael Hoey (17) got the score to 231, a decent effort from the Armagh team. Although very disappointed, Armagh know they have to move on and bounce back from this defeat.
Armagh Seconds were also defeated by local rivals Laurelvale on The Mall. Armagh batted first and in their 40 overs posted 187-5. A big mention must go to skipper, Paul Scowcroft, who hit his second century of the season, getting out off the penultimate ball of the innings for 102.
Armagh produced a good bowling display and pushed Laurelvale to the wire, with Laurelvale winning by 2 wickets with 3 deliveries to spare. Armagh finished with only 9 fielders due to injury or other commitments, and may feel the result could have went in their favour had they finished with 11. Andrew Smyth picked up 3 wickets for 35 runs.
Armagh Thirds were knocked out of the Minor Qualifying Cup by Instonian Fourths. The margin of defeat was 3 wickets.
Sunday 29th May 2011
Armagh Firsts progessed to the Quarter Final of the Junior Cup after a high scoring game against a plucky Drumaness side. Armagh scored 240-6 in their 50 overs. Notable scores being 91 and 58 by Colly Russell and Philip Doyle respectively.
Drumaness managed to get 220-4 in their allotted overs, Neil Gelston hitting a magnificent 109. After he was out their innings faded off and Armagh just made it over the line.
The Seconds were in cup against on the back pitch on the Mall, it what can be defined as a one sided match. Muckamore bowled Armagh out for 114, with Leslie Allen, who would still be good enough for 1st XI cricket picked up 4 wickets. In reply, Muckamore had no worries in knocking off the score and only lost the one wicket, meaning Armagh are knocked out of the Intermediate Cup in Round One.
Friday 27th May 2011
On Friday night, Armagh travelled to Queensway to face Derriaghy in the 1st Round of the T20 Shield. Derriaghy batted first and scored 107 all out. Armagh were faultless in the field, with numerous brilliant catches and boundary saving dives. Harry Boyd was pick of bowlers, get 4-12 in 4 overs, bamboozling the batsmen. Mark Stinson chipped in with 3-22 off his 4 overs.
Armagh struggled with the bat, and could only muster 96-6 from their 20 overs, as they never really got going and were always behind the run rate. Although disappointed, a lot of positives were taken from the game.
Armagh Cricket Club can reveal that their new sponsors for the 2011 season is Dominos Pizza. We are hoping this can beneficial for both the club and for Dominos as it is situated just across from the cricket club itself. Everyone at the club is grateful of the sponsor and hopes it can be a lasting relationship between the two entities. Below is a picture of 1st captain Gareth McCarter (centre), Mark Stinson (left) and Matthew Steenson (right) being presented the new shirts for the season from an employee.
Sunday 22nd May 2011
Armagh Firsts had a re-arranged fixture against Clogher in the First Round of the Junior Cup with a result needed. With the heavy showers on Saturday it ruled out any cricket being played, so the dreaded "Bowl Out" was to be used to decide the winner. With the 5 bowlers at the ready and the captain on the phone to the Clogher captain, the bowl out commenced and thankfully Armagh came away winners, 2-0. Alan Whitcroft and Harry Doyle were successful and with the win Armagh now progress to face Drumaness in the second round.
Saturday 21st May 2011
Once again the weather was in the only winner of the day as it cancelled all games that were scheduled. After overnight and early morning persistent rain, both the Firsts and Seconds had to call their league and cup fixtures off respectively. The Thirds on the other hand were handed a win and progress to the next round of the Minor Qualifying Cup after CSNI V's phoning on the Friday night, unable to field a team.
Saturday 21st May 2011 -NIGHT AT THE RACES
First Race is at 8.00pm and there will be Drink Promotions through the races. All Welcome!!
Saturday 14th May 2011
The Firsts 1st Round Junior Cup fixture was an early victim of the weather, having been called off on Friday afternoon after persistent rain at Clogher was all too much their ground. The match has now been rearranged for Sunday 22nd May 2011, were the match will get a result no matter what, even if it means by the dreaded "bowl out".
The Seconds had a short trip to Millpark were they came away victorious in a low scoring affair. Armagh batted first and in their 40 overs accumulated 173 for 8. Harry Boyd top scored with 38 and a mention must go to Seamus Crowe playing his first game back in two years who scored 32. 
In reply Millpark could only muster 160-6 off their 40 overs with some tight bowling from everyone. The pick of the bowlers being Paul McCord 3 for 24 and Duncan Steed 2 for 24.
Armagh Thirds lost with one ball to spare in a close encounter against local rivals Laurelvale. Laurelvale won by 4 wickets. Report to follow.
Saturday 7th May 2011
The Firsts game at Mallusk unfortunately got hit by the weather and was abandoned after 41 overs with Armagh on 185-5. Matthew Steenson was on 55 not out when the weather closed in and the umpires called it a day.
A minute down the road at BRA Playing Fields the Seconds had a high scoring game against Academy. With a weaken team they knew it was going to be tough. With Academy hitting a massive 364-2, it didn't look good at the tea interval. Paul Scowcroft although thought differently and hit 145 before being caught on the boundary attempting another maximum. Aaron "Arnie" Wright, who is only 13 years of age, hit his first club half century on his way to 70. Armagh although fell agonisingly short being all out for 299. A great effort from a young team.
The Thirds kicked started their season with a win over a strong Holywood side that boosted on less than 3 ex First Eleven players last year. Report to follow.
Saturday 30th April 2011
Firsts off to winning starting against Portadown
In the Ulster Bank League Section 2, Armagh get their 2011 season off to a winning start at a wind swept Chamber's Park against Portadown. To see full story, see Reports.
Seconds given victory over Cliftonville
Due to Cliftonville Seconds unable to field a team, Armagh's Second were gifted their first points of the season in Junior League 3.