Ards Cricket Club 1st XI v Newforge on Sat 14 May 2016 at 1.00
Ards Cricket Club Lost by 59 runs

Match report On Saturday last the Ards 1st XI finally got their league season off to a start with the visit of Newforge. With a fast outfield and excellent pitch at their disposal, both teams were eager to win the toss, and it was Newforge who decided to bat when their captain, Jasmeet Singh, called correctly, condemning the Ards players to the field.

As is their wont, the Newforge openers set off like a train in their pursuit of a challenging first innings total. Both Rekhi and Pandey took severe toll on anything off-line served up by Conor Sims and Peter Devlin as Newforge rocketed to 49 off the first 8 overs. Then, there was a dramatic turn-around as, in the eighth over, Devlin took three wickets in four balls. First he bowled Rekhi, yorked Singh for a first ball duck, and finished off with another yorker to dispose of Tandon, second ball. This rocked the Newforge team somewhat but did not stop Pandey from throwing the bat at anything full. For Ards, debutant Kazi got off to a good start with the wicket of Pandey caught by Sims, in his first over. This brought Hamza Hussein to the crease to join Sameer Masih (31) for a partnership worth 151 which threatened to take the game away totally from Ards. Hussein, in particular, threw the bat at anything full or short, and Sameer was content very much to play second fiddle with mayhem ensuing at the other end. Both Hulbert and Smith took the brunt of Hussein’s strokeplay as several balls flew out of the park and over the Portaferry Road. With pace and bounce in the pitch, and a fast outfield, batsmen got full value for their strokes and, though Hussein was fortunate to have a few lives courtesy of some dropped catches, his was an excellent innings of 106 (9 x 4s & 7 x 6s) before he mistimed Sean Francis to Sims at mid-off. It was Francis (4-39) and Kazi (2-35) who did most in the latter overs to peg back the Newforge batting, as the total declined from 212-5 to an all out 228, though it had been Devlin (3-43) who made the initial inroads. Captain Sims (1-33) also pulled his spell back after a difficult opening period. It is a big outfield at Londonderry Park, and a hard field to defend when it is so quick but, aside from a couple of chances, the Ards fielders stuck well to their task.

In reply, Ards needed a good start, somewhere up near the run rate, with an initial target of 50 set for the first ten overs. Paul Nihell and Adam Balfour combined to put on 43 for the first wicket when Nihell fell for a brisk 20 in the 8th over, bringing young Jack Smith to the crease. Balfour was the next to go, victim of some indecision in the running and a direct hit run out from the Newforge captain. The wheels were beginning to come off the Ards innings, and worse was to come when Michael Orr, making his debut, steered Kiran to gully for 1. Jack Smith (25) and Conor Sims (13), having played some good shots, both departed with the score in the 80s, either side of drinks, leaving Farley (14) and Hulbert (23) to put on a brisk 40 run partnership for the 6th wicket. Again, two wickets fell in consecutive overs, leaving the lower order a lot to do to rescue the situation. Peter Devlin (26) batted well with some good strong shots, in concert with Kazi (10no), as the Newforge bowlers began to sense that an upset was on the cards. However, when Devlin departed at 162, the last two wickets fell in consecutive balls to leave Ards all out 169, and short by 59 runs. For Newforge, Sameer Masih bowled well for 3-40, supported by Rekhi (2-23) and Kiran (2-27).

The real difference between the sides was the number of boundaries hit (33 by Newforge to Ards’ 23), and some of Ards’ support bowling, which was not as effective in keeping things tight in the middle overs. In the chase, too many Ards batsmen got decent starts when the side needed someone to go onto a large total and shepherd the other middle order players through to the end. However, there is plenty to work with and, when the university players return from exams and pastures foreign in the coming weeks, further batting fire power will be added to the side. This was only the first league fixture but games that should be won are coming up in the next couple of weeks – a rearrangement against Dungannon and a possible shifting of next Saturday’s Dunmurry match. The league is wide open this season and early victories are essential if Ards are to place themselves in the running.

Newforge Batting
Player name RunsMB4s6sSR
3nb 21w 3b 2lb 
for 10 wickets
228 (37.0 overs)
A. Rekhi b  Peter Devlin 21
K. Pandey ct  Kazi 29
J. Singh b  Peter Devlin 0
A. Tandon b  Peter Devlin 0
S. Masih ct  Kazi 31
H. Hussain ct  Sean Francis 106
Dominic ct  Sean Francis 5
Kiran lbw  Sean Francis 1
A. Nara ct  Sean Francis 0
Abbin lbw  Conor Sims 2
Sriram Not Out  4

Ards Cricket Club 1st XI Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Conor Sims7.0033133.004.71
Peter Devlin7.0043314.336.14
Shamran Kazi8.0135217.504.38
Jack Smith4.003800.009.50
Sean Francis8.003949.754.88
Matt Hulbert3.003500.0011.67

Ards Cricket Club 1st XI Batting
Player Name RMB4s6sSRCatchesStumpingsRun outs
1nb 14w 2lb 
for 10 wickets

(36.1 overs)
Adam Balfour Run out  8
Paul Nihell b  Sameer 20
Jack Smith ct  Sameer 25
Michael Orr ct  Kiran 1
Conor Sims b  Sameer 13
Ian Farley b  Rekhi 14
Matt Hulbert ct  Rekhi 23
Peter Devlin ct  Singh 26
Shamran Kazi Not Out  10
Sean Francis ct  Dominic 2
Marc Lyons b  Kiran 0

Newforge Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
J. Singh8.0129129.003.63
H. Hussain7.003600.005.14
A. Rekhi3.0023211.507.67