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Gallagher Challenge Cup Preliminary Round
Cregagh upset Lurgan and Bangor sail past Laurelvale

NCU

The Gallagher Challenge Cup started today with two games taking place in the preliminary round.

First up was 4 times previous winners of this competition Lurgan who were hosting one of the 2 promoted teams from last year's Section 2, Cregagh.

Despite the recent inclement weather, the game was able to go ahead and Lurgan captain Stephen Johnston choose to bat first after winning the toss. He might have been regretting this decision after 10 overs when Cregagh had reduced Lurgan to 20 for 4. Chief destroyer was Leon Moore who took 3 of the first 4 wickets to fall.

Photo right shows Gordon Markey from cup sponsors Gallagher presenting the man of the match award to Leon Moore of Cregagh for his 4 for 18 today.

There was to be no recovery for Lurgan and wickets continued to fall regularly with David McCormick nipping in to take 3 of them (for 15 runs in 10 overs). At 46 for 9 Lurgan were in danger of being bowled out for less than 50 but a spirited last wicket stand of 30 between Qasim Mohammed and Nathaniel Ferris (who would finish as top score with 19) brought a modicum of respectability to the score. The partnership was ended when a strategic short ball from Craig Irvine accounted for Ferris. Lurgan finished on 76 all out after 35 overs with Leon Moore finishing with 4 for 18.

As there was still over 1 hour to go to the tea break the Cregagh innings commenced almost immediately and Johnny Moore seemed to be in a bit of a hurry as he scored 34 runs very quickly off 29 balls. His innings included 3 sixes and 1 four and his innings was ended by a quicker ball from Andrew Bingham that trapped him LBW. Bingham was the best of the Lurgan bowlers as he picked up 2 wickets for 18 runs.

The momentum however was with Cregagh and Mark and Aaron Johnston wasted no time in knocking off the 77 runs required for victory in the 13th over.
This win means Cregagh host former winners Instonians in the first-round proper on 26th May.

Leon Moore was adjudged Man of the Match for his 4 wickets for 18 runs and was presented with the trophy by Gordon Markey from Cup sponsors Gallagher.

In the other game to take place today Bangor batted first at Uprichard Park against the other promoted team from Section 2 last season, Laurelvale. Despite 30 from Andy Nixon the early part of the Bangor innings faltered somewhat and around the drinks break they were 87 for 5. However, 49 from Adam McCusker, 41 from Ricky McLarnon and 39no from Qamar Zaman ensured that Bangor passed the 200 mark and eventually finished on 213 for 9 after 50 overs.

Pick of the Laurelvale bowlers were Lee Edgar with 2 for 38 and Muhammad Ajmal with 3 for 39.

After tea Laurelvale started their reply looking to improve upon their poor batting display from the previous Saturday. However, it was not to be as a steady loss of wickets throughout their innings meant that Bangor's bowlers were always in control. Taimur Khan picked up 2 early wickets and then Qamar Zaman ran through the middle order as he followed up his batting display with 4 wickets for 9 runs in 10 overs.

Photo right shows NCU President Clarence Hiles presenting the Gallagher man of the match award to Qamar Zaman of Bangor for his 39no and 4 for 9.

Khan returned to pick up a 3rd wicket and McLarnon wrapped up the innings with his only delivery when he had Jeff Haire trapped LBW. Laurelvale were bowled out for 113 leaving Bangor convincing winners by 100 runs.

After the match the NCU President Clarence Hiles had an easy choice for the Man of the Match award as he awarded it to Qamar Zaman for his 39no and 4 wickets for 9 runs.

In the first round on 26th May Bangor have another home draw has they will host fellow Section 1 side and previous winners Downpatrick.

Scorecards

Bangor 213-9 (A Nixon 30, A McCusker 49, R McLarnon 41, Q Zaman 39no, L Edgar 2-37, M Ajmal 3-39)
Laurelvale 113 (M Ajmal 21, T Khan 3-16, Q Zaman 4-9)
Bangor beat Laurelvale by 100 runs
Man of the Match: Qamar Zaman

Lurgan 76 (N Ferris 19, L Moore 4-18, D McCormick 3-15)
Cregagh 77-2 (J Moore 34, A Bingham 2-18)
Cregagh beat Lurgan by 8 wickets
Man of the Match: Leon Moore