Double win weekend for Holywood Cricket.

Holywood secured their place in next season’s second tier of local cricket with a brace of wins over last weekend which banished any fears of being dragged into this weekend’s relegation dogfight.

A laboured six wicket victory over already relegated Academy was followed by the trouncing of Derriaghy on Sunday afternoon to give the local side a final total of 36 points.  This guarantees Section 1 cricket at Seapark next season.

But it took a typically gutsy innings again from Jordan Wilson to see off a relegated Academy side who amassed an unexpected 143 run total which the home side at first struggled to assail.

Wesley Hurn’s usual big hitting brought him 29 runs but scores of just one each from captain Philip McCormick and Ricky Kerrigan brought Andrew Haire to the crease with three wickets down and many many runs to get – maybe too many, some feared.

When Haire departed on just 15, it left Holywood with a mountain to climb and searching for salvation with their top order perched as spectators in front of the Seapark pavilion.

When Paddy Park joined Wilson some Holywood stalwarts feared that Academy would pull off the surprise win of the season at Seapark and plunge the home side into this weekend’s relegation dogfight.

But Wilson’s unbeaten 59 runs and Park’s unbeaten 22 steered the home side to a crucial victory.

As well as scoring a valuable 29 runs Hurn’s three wickets for 28 runs earned him a justified share of the man of the match award with Jordan Wilson.

The game was also notable for the return of teenager Calum Walsh following a long term injury and he didn’t disappoint, taking two Academy wickets for 17 runs.

Sunday’s game at Derriaghy was a much less anxious affair for Holywood supporters with the home side desperate too for a vital four points.

Their score of 80 all out in 18 overs was reduced to a victory target of just 31 under the Duckworth/Lewis calculation in a rain affected game.

Hurn hit 17 of the runs needed with Wilson chipping in with 9 to steer Holywood home and secure their second four points of an ultimately successful weekend on the playing field.  Ronald Defreitas with three wickets for 14 runs, Kyle Walsh with two for 15 and Andrew Haire with two for 9 laid the foundation for what was a comprehensive nine wicket Holywood victory.

Mission accomplished, Holywood can now rest on their laurels this weekend and watch with interest the tussle between Bangor, Cliftonville and Derriaghy which will determine who will join Academy in relegation trauma.

Sunday’s scheduled game between Bangor and Cliftonville in the 20 over format at Upritchard Park is probably the critical game but before the teams take to the square the visitors could have a critical four point advantage over the County Down side if they defeat Donaghcloney Mill on Friday evening, weather permitting.

If Derriaghy do not secure any points from their outstanding fixture away to Downpatrick on Saturday then Bangor could secure Section 1 survival with a victory in their last outstanding but tough fixture away to Woodvale in north Belfast.

Nice not to have those relegation worries around Holywood.

Alan Murray

13 Sept 2017