Ian Callender
Limavady's season is in danger of crumbling

Ian Callender, 21 May 2001

News Letter LIMAVADY'S season continues to crumble around them. They lost their fourth match out of five at Clontarf on Saturday as the Royal Liver Irish Cup finalists in three of the last four years made a tame exit. The club is still hopeful of persuading Roger Kerr back to cricket despite his protestations that he has retired. At the moment he would appear to be as important to the seven-times North West champions as Decker Curry. Without him, the whole balance of the bowling attack is disrupted and with ineligible professional Iftikhar Hussain and Tom McClintock also missing at Castle Avenue, the attack was always going to be exposed.

Victor McDaid tried to cover as opening bowler but it proved to be mission impossible and with Paul Blackburn, on debut, at first change and Mark McDaid expected to bowl a full quota as second change, Curry was forced to use Ian McGregor, who can remember bowling only once since the Irish Cup final seven years ago as a front-line bowler. It didn't work. Yet, thanks to three wickets in an impressive opening spell from Ricky McDaid and remarkable figures of two for six (five singles and a no ball) from 10 overs by Curry himself, Limavady needed only 180 to win. Only 180! Three successive treble 20s would have been easier as the batting flopped with Curry again a one-man innings. He scored 49 and the next top score was 13, made jointly by Extras and Andy Christie. Gareth Harron, made seven in an opening partnership of 44 and no-one else in the team contributed more than five.

The young trio of Simon McMichael, Ivor Lapsley and Paul Blackburn could be excused, trying to do a man's job against, after all, the team that won the league and cup double in Leinster last season. But the fault-line running through the team which has dominated not only North West cricket but the Ireland club scene for the last four seasons was, once again, horribly visible.

It is remarkable just what a difference the loss of three players can make, yet, add McClintock, Jaydeep Narse and, most significantly of all, Kerr, and you have the 11 which, just seven months ago, was just one match away from winning the Treble for the second time! The rumour mill has it that Kerr could be back next week for the make or break league game against Brigade at Beechgrove. On Saturday's evidence it would seem to be Limavady's last hope of saving their season from turning into an embarrassing defence. At the moment, confidence is so low that once Curry was spectacularly caught behind, the team's implosion seemed inevitable. 65 for one became 65 for four and 96 all out.

On the day, much credit must go to Mark Jones for the excellent figures of six for 13 from 7.4 overs. Introduced in the 13th over, he bowled Harron with his third ball, Mark McDaid went three balls later - the first of three ducks for the McDaid family - and the innings was all over in the 27th, the farcical run of Ian Smyth, going for a third, summing up the mess that Limavady were in.

The writing was on the wall much earlier when the highest contribution to Clontarf's 179 was not just Extras, with 53 but wides with 43, four more than even captain Ronan O'Reilly managed. The crucial partnership was the 51 added for the eighth wicket but the batsmen scored only 29 of them! You don't deserve to win a match after that and, to be fair to Limavady, they never even threatened to. After a day like that things can only improve! Surely?