HELENSBURGH Cricket Club put a tough start to their 2019 campaign behind them in fine style at the weekend with two wins in two days.

After bowling out Stenhousemuir for 62 to record a crushing 182-run victory for their first league win of the season on Saturday, the Burgh team then secured a dramatic victory over Gordonians with just one ball to spare on Sunday, making progress in the Cricket Scotland Challenge Cup for the first time in several years.

Saturday’s visitors put Helensburgh into bat on a very green wicket, and openers Jarryd Clancy and Duncan Stephens looked solid through the first four overs before Stephens missed a straight one with the score on 10.

Captain Gregor Chambers pushed himself up the order to number three, and along with Clancy took the heat out of the Stenhousemuir bowling with a steady partnership of 26 off the next 12 overs before Clancy was bowled in the 17th with the score on 36.

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Vice-captain Calum Thornton continued the steady progress to take Helensburgh to 58 for two at the drinks break – not spectacular, but still an excellent platform to work with.

Thornton fell in the 28th over with the score on 69, but that brought Darren Butler to the crease, and he immediately set about the bowling, putting on a superb partnership of 153 with Chambers for the fourth wicket.

Butler was caught in the penultimate over for 74, with Syed Ishitaq joining Chambers for the final over as Helensburgh closed on 244 for four, with Chambers 98 not out.

For once this gave the bowlers a platform to work with, and Clancy and Fred Parffrey put the Stenny openers to the sword, with two early wickets for the latter and one for the former in an excellent, hostile spell opening the door for Helensburgh.

Rajitha Arachchi was the first change, and his skiddy deliveries ripped through the visitors as he returned a career-best spell of five wickets for just nine runs.

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When Jerry Smith (two for eight) took the last wicket, the visitors were all out for just 62 inside 25 overs.

Helensburgh again lost the toss on Sunday, but this time Gordonians opted to bat first, but Clancy and Parffrey were in fine form again, keeping tight line and length to frustrate the visitors.

Skipper Chambers turned to spin early on and to good effect; Butler bowled a superb spell, taking the next five wickets to leave the visitors at 66 for six, Butler having taken five for 20.

A decent partnership of 38 for the seventh wicket saw the score reach 104, but Helensburgh kept up the pressure and finished off the Gordonians tail to leave the visitors on 127, Stephens taking three for 18.

A target of 128 to win from 40 overs looked very achievable from Helensburgh’s point of view, but Gordonians hadn’t travelled three and a half hours to be rolled over easily, and with the hosts on 20 for four after nine overs the Aberdeen side were very much in the box seat.

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However, Butler and Oliver Curtis battered a partnership of 77 off the next 20 overs to leave Helensburgh favourites – but then Curtis fell for 41, and Butler went for 35, to leave the score at 103 for six – which soon became 103 for seven and then 11 for eight.

That set up a tense finish, with Parffrey and Christiansen in the middle and Helensburgh needing 15 off the last three overs.

The hosts still needed four to win as the first ball of the final over was bowled; the first two deliveries were dots, before a single and a leg bye left Helensburgh needing two off the last two balls.

Christiansen, though, kept his head, and swung straight through the line to send the ball over the infield, running for two to complete an excellent win after a fabulous game of cricket.

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Chambers said: “This has been an excellent weekend for us, we’ve played some really good cricket and everyone has contributed with either the bat, ball or in the field.

“We were all buzzing after Saturday and to back it up on Sunday and get across the line was fantastic.

“We can’t wait for next weekend now and hopefully get some momentum going.”