HOLYWOOD moved into third in Section 2 with a six-wicket win over Bangor at Upritchard Park on Saturday.
With both teams keen to build on their good start to the season, Bangor skipper Johnny Parker won the toss and elected to bat to make first use of an excellent surface.
Father and son duo Paddy and Sam McMillan got Bangor off to a very good start with an opening stand of 62, before Paddy was unfortunate to be adjudged LBW for 19. Bangor’s run machine Kuda Samunderu joined Sam at the crease with both players rarely troubled by Holywood’s bowling attack. Sam was particularly strong through the covers, punishing any width on offer. He eventually fell for a well-constructed 73 runs from 101 balls – the talented 17 year-old had taken his opportunity with both hands and continued his strong start to the season.
The 94-run partnership between Samunderu and McMillan provided Bangor with the foundation to accelerate towards the back end of the innings with wickets in hand. Kuda’s excellent knock of 53 came to an end when he was run out following a strong and accurate throw from the deep by Holywood’s overseas professional Thinus Gouws.
Adam McCusker was unfortunate to be dismissed after a ball kept low. Johnny Parker and Chris Walton kept the scoreboard ticking towards 200 with a combination of good running between the wickets and finding the boundary, before Parker was caught for a punchy 22. Walton and Skelly junior ran hard between the wickets and pushed Bangor up to a total of 213 in their 40 overs, which was felt to be just over par on this excellent Bangor track.
A. Mohammed was the pick of the Holywood bowlers after picking up the wickets of Sam McMillan and Adam McCusker. Both sides knew that whilst this was a good total posted by Bangor, Holywood had one of the best overseas batters in the league in Thinus Gouws, who had been scoring runs for fun in recent weeks and capable of winning games for Holywood almost on his own.
Removing Gouws early and Bangor would be strong favourites to win. The hosts started very well with David Kennedy removing the dangerous opener James Hemmings when he edged through a lifting delivery to keeper Paddy McMillan without scoring. Chereddy offered support to Gouws, who went on the attack in the first 10 overs before Chereddy fell to Samunderu for 17. Skelly junior bowled with great rhythm, picking up one wicket and unfortunate not to have more success.
Kennedy continued to threaten the Holywood batters and was beating the bat at will; the former Holywood, North Down and Belfast Harlequins man is back to full fitness and will be key to Bangor’s success with the ball this season.
Gouws provided a few half chances in the field but continued to score runs at a fast rate and despite the loss of the McKeown brothers, Holywood won by six wickets with Gouws finishing unbeaten on 127 with seventeen fours and four sixes.
Bangor have the opportunity to bounce back this week with a T20 Cup quarter-final this evening (Thursday) versus Dunmurry and a Junior Cup game against Victoria on Saturday – both games are at Upritchard Park.