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Tons For Aaron & Matthew as Maghera Cruise Past St Johnston - 1st XI Vs St Johnston 2nds Match Report

Matthew Caulfield & Aaron Stewart Celebrate their centeries

Saturday saw the third straight home game on the spin for Maghera First X1 and anyone who happened to be present witnessed a quite remarkable performance from the team and especially the batting performance from Matthew Caulfield and Aaron Stewart who once again etched their names on the clubs honours board with centuries.

In the afternoon heat Maghera won the toss and chose to bat and went about ensuring that St Johnston would labour for the rest of the day.

Scoring was steady throughout the early overs and the wicket of S Dougherty gave St Johnston hope of victory but Trevor Dougherty intelligently made his way to 40 giving Maghera a sound platform of 82/2.

Alarm bells were ringing in the Maghera camp though when S Bentley and B Cathcart were both dismissed but the appearance for the first time in over a year of Matthew Caulfield brought hope of revival and what ensued was indeed legendary in the history of MCC.Stewart continued to score freely against a wilting attack and Caulfield proceeded to play as though he had never been away from the crease playing with assurance and blistering power and precision. The two completed their centuries with rousing applause from the boundary in appreciation of the discipline and destructive nature of both innings. Stewart was finally caught behind on 106 off 105 balls and Caulfields 100 miraculously scored off 59 balls. All the more remarkable considering his lengthy spell away from the game and he certainly played as though he was making up for that enforced time away from the game he loves and excells at. One had to sympathise with the Saints weary bowlers who were offered a glimmer of hope mid innings only for it to be brutally snatched away by a record breaking partnership for Maghera. The innings ended with J Semple playing a cavalier and exciting role scoring 29 off 12 balls to take the total 312/6 to end what was an innings never to forget at Rainey.

Captain Alfie gives the team talk

St Johnston set about the nearly impossible task of winning by receiving a bitter blow in the first over when Alfie Stewart removed the middle stump of O'Neill to stimulate what was an excellent performance in the field to support the fantastic batting performance earlier. Stewart and Semple the experienced opening bowlers refused to allow St Johnston any freedom to think about achieving their target by bowling consistently in the stifling heat and both taking a wicket apiece to set the scene for what was to come. First change of bowling introduced Scott Dougherty and Aaron Stewart to the attack and with blistering accuracy and hunger for wickets they quickly mopped up any form of resistance from the Saints batsmen. Dougherty in particular removed the very experienced D Macbeth to shatter all hopes of a comeback. Both bowlers ended the innings with remarkable figures, Stewart taking 4/9 and Dougherty 3/10 leaving St Johnston all out for 83 with every chance offered in the field being taken with exceptional focus throughout.

A day when every aspect of Maghera's game was in excellent shape, a day of record breaking batting and a day never to forget for all who witnessed some breathtaking cricket. The result gives Maghera the perfect early season boost to their campaign as they build on the excellent pre season plans and preparations. A long season awaits but the foundations are clearly in place for a competitive and fruitful year.

Maghera 1st Innings Vs St Johnston 2nds 11th May 2024

St Johnston 2nds Innings Vs Maghera 1sts 11th May 2024

Written by Alfie Stewart

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