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Maghera XI vs Enniskillen Pre-Season Match Report

Pre-season games are notoriously unpredictable, mainly due to the vagaries of the weather. At times, they can be very pleasant affairs, bathed in warm spring sunshine. Sometimes they are so cold the umpires can look as if they are frozen, motionless statues. This particular year, the wet weather has been the enemy, and for much of the week it was doubtful that the fixture between Enniskillen CC and Maghera CC at Erne College would go ahead. However, a covered wicket and a fortunately dry day, after much rain during the week, ensured that a game did indeed proceed, much to the relief of all involved.

The wicket was, unsurprisingly, a little damp, and had the look of an old Clogher CC strip - slow and low. Considering there were players on both sides who had played at that much loved (but sadly defunct) venue many times, it seemed somewhat apt. One has to wonder what the late, lamented Peter Reeve would have made of it!

Enniskillen batted first, and their openers took an aggressive approach, looking to play big shots from the start. However, faced with some accurate bowling by Alfie Stewart and John Semple, along with some suicidal running, Enniskillen soon found themselves four down, with not that much on the card. Consolidation was needed for a while, but more accurate and speedy bowling by debutant Ajay Krishnan kept the scoring rate under control, and he finished with two wickets for only nine runs. Kenny Maxwell (25) and Patterson (17no) provided some late impetus to the innings, with Enniskillen eventually making a respectable 108.

The interval brought a tea break, with a wonderful selection of food and treats kindly provided for everyone to enjoy - and there was a lot of enjoying done! Fermanagh hospitality is very much alive and well.

Maghera (who gave a debut to five new players) opened with John Semple and Graham Love, and the opening over set the tone for what was a brutal display of hitting, with Love taking 25 off it. Semple attempted to join in the action, but was well caught on the boundary for 2. This brought Stewart to the crease, and he knocked the ball around while Love continued his assault from the other end. Kenny Maxwell, the wily old left-arm spinner, brought some control to proceedings but Love continued on his merry way, and brought the game to a close with a powerful 82 not out - amounting to a quite remarkable seventy-five percent of the runs scored.

The game was played in an excellent spirit, and there was good support from the locals, which was very encouraging to see. The future looks bright for Enniskillen CC, and Maghera CC very much enjoyed their day in Lakeland country.

Of course, shortly after the match had ended, it began to rain….

Written by Tim Evans

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