Maghera first XI began their league campaign at home to Newbuildings on Saturday 29th April. The visitors batted first and, as is often the case, Alfie Stewart and Mark Semple put them under immediate pressure. Wickets fell at regular intervals and the run rate was slow bar a short cameo by dangerman Bell. His innings came to an end after an excellent running catch by Graham Love and Maghera reassumed control with further economic bowling by John Semple, Aaron Stewart and Scott Dougherty on debut. Newbuildings’ young opener, Charlie Simpson, proved difficult to dismiss as he anchored the innings and was ably assisted by McIntyre and McClintock as the visitors reached 182 for the loss of 9 wickets from their 40 overs. A solid but not imposing total for Maghera to chase down.
Indeed, in the early part of Maghera’s reply, everything was going according to plan with Aaron Stewart and Scott Dougherty reaching 47 before the loss of both batsmen in consecutive overs. Unfortunately for the hosts, they were unable to overturn this shift in momentum as the wickets continued to fall. All out for 95, it was a disappointing end to a day that had otherwise offered much promise. Most encouraging was a very tidy knock of 17 by teenager Sean Bentley who hit some eye-catching boundaries to show a glimpse of his potential. Not an ideal start to the season, however, Maghera will dust themselves down and go again next week with as much enthusiasm as ever, all the more determined to put their first points on the board at Brigade. Win or lose – it’s good to be back.
Written By Aaron Stewart