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Downpatrick second string in struggle to keep on going


By Ian Callender

So what does it feel like to captain a team that conceded 484 for three in 40 overs? For Paul Linehan it was a case of going out and making sure his team was not disgraced. He scored 72, but with only eight players it was always going to be a struggle for Downpatrick II on their visit to Donemana for last Sunday's Ulster Plate first round tie.

Unfortunately for Paul - a veteran of Downpatrick's league and cup winning sides of the 1990s, including the Irish Cup in 1991 - arriving at the ground without a full complement of players is a regular occurrence this season.

"Last month, against North Down II, we had seven players and one of those hadn't played a game of cricket for 10 years," he explained.

"The next match we had two adults and nine players under 15, against Carrick we couldn't field a team and had to scratch, and against Derriaghy we had three adults and eight under 15s.

"And on Sunday the chairman, John Thompson, who had travelled with us, actually helped us out but he pulled a hamstring after a few overs and we were down again to eight players. But we bowled poorly!

"I have a list of 25 plus players but so many now have excuses not to play, such as working, just married, university or just lost interest."

It is pretty soul destroying, admits Linehan, who "selfishly" - his word - prefers to play for the firsts as the game is guaranteed to go beyond three o'clock!

Linehan, even at the age of 48, is too good for Junior League 2. In the game against North Down he scored 81 out of 116, but is he worried about the future for Downpatrick II?

"This team won the Intermediate Cup in 2015. Apart from Philip Lennon, who has retired, the rest of that team are still registered with the club. Two played on Sunday," said Linehan. "Our Third XI folded last year."

Worrying times at one of the NCU's leading clubs.

The victory margin for Donemana was 271 runs, but their total was only the second highest on the ground.

They had three centurions - Jamie Huey (193), Lexie Boyd (119) and Kyle Dougherty (117) - and, in total, Donemana hit 35 fours and 38 sixes, with Huey sharing partnerships of 223 for the first wicket and 244 for the second.

Lisburn II will be grateful to have been handed home advantage in the quarter-finals against Donemana after their four wickets win over Coleraine II, while the pick of the round is Brigade II v Waringstown II, a repeat of last year's semi-final and the 2015 final.

Brigade won both games but lost in last year's final to Bready, who are also back in the quarter-finals this year after beating Carrickfergus by 135 runs.

Apart from the run-fest at Donemana, two other players scored centuries - David Murdock hit 122 not out in Brigade's 288-2 against North Down II and James Hunter 101 of Waringstown's 258-4 against Eglinton.

Quarter-final draw: Brigade II v Waringstown II, Bready II v CIYMS II, Lisburn II v Donemana II, Muckamore II v CSNI II. Games to be played on Sunday, July 2.

Belfast Telegraph


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