Dominant Donemana holming in on six
DOMINANT DONEMANA HOLMING IN ON SIX
There were plenty who felt that Donemana would find life tough against Coleraine in this weekend's senior cup quarter-final tie at the Holm, but it was to be an all-too-familiar story come Saturday evening as Ricky-Lee Dougherty's men reached their 10th consecutive cup semi-final with a comfortable 50-run verdict.
Truth to tell there were no excuses for the league leaders; they were on top for the first half hour for sure, but always chasing the holders after that.
The afternoon started well for David Cooke's team and having won the toss and opted to bowl first they can only have been pinching themselves to have reduced their hosts to 4 for 3 before the crowd had settled.
As is usually the case at the Holm however, help wasn't far away. Many times in the past Donemana have been in this situation and been rescued by "the twins" and the 2017 version of William and Gary McClintock were only too willing to take their turn here.
A 116-run stand between the siblings gave Donemana a much-needed platform and although the visitors fought back admirably after getting Gary for 45; William was in no mood to compromise. Coleraine picked up a couple of cheap wickets at the other end to keep their interest alive before a 63-run stand between McClintock and Kyle Dougherty (23) teed up a sparkling finale.
William finally fell for a magnificent 125 (11 fours, 8 sixes) the first of three wickets for Steve Lazars (3-51) but even then the hosts' assault was not yet complete as Dwayne McGerrigle clubbed a 14-ball 34- hitting his former Donemana team-mate Stevie Dunn for 4 consecutive sixes as the innings closed on 270-9.
Dunn did pick up a couple of wickets, as did Stephen Hutchinson but Donemana looked to be holding all the Aces by then.
It was some recovery compared to the first three overs and it knocked the stuffing out of Coleraine.
True, Scott Campbell and Marcus Poskitt safely negotiated all but one ball of the first 10 overs of the reply but when Andy McBrine bowled Poskitt for 21 with the score on 37, you could sense what was coming. Campbell followed soon after for 16 before disaster struck for the Bannsiders with both Rishi Chopra and then Tim Chopra- who had batted well for his 36- getting run out.
Skipper David Cooke (41) and Graham Hume (39) combined to give their side a glimmer of hope late on before William McBrine (4-39) brought the curtain down on another big win for the hosts as Coleraine were all out for 220.
With Brigade and now Coleraine out of the way you'd find very few bookmakers willing to lay odds on this amazing cup run continuing, although three other teams will now beg to differ as the semi-finals loom.
And first to join Donemana in the draw were Bready after they posted an 80-run verdict over near neighbours Newbuildings in front of a crowd of around 200 at the sun-splashed village venue.
Batting first, the Premiership side were indebted to a 2nd wicket partnership between Iroosh Samarasooriya (54) and David Rankin (51) to really get their innings moving. The Sri Lankan hit 7 fours and a six in his knock and Rankin 8 fours in his before Newbuildings' overseas man Peat Salmon (3-33) removed them both to bring his team back into it.
Craig Young again showed his versatility as he made 49 (2 fours, 2 sixes) before being bowled on 49 by former Bready player Adam Warnock (3-56).
After that, Reece Kelly added 34 but the home side's bowlers still managed to keep the damage down to 257 all out with Tommy Thompson (2-48) also among the wickets.
The reply did not start well with Young bowling Mark Hanna with the very first delivery of the innings with a ball so pacey that the umpires had to retrieve a bail from beyond the boundary rope. The Ireland International didn't have to wait long for his second either- Darren Moore suffering the same fate three balls later as Newbuildings slumped to 0 for 2.
Salmon (39) and Craig Wallace (30) managed to calm things down a little after that, however once that pair departed only Thompson (28) was able to offer much in the way of resistance.
Young was unplayable early on to finish with 3-28 but was outpointed in the bowling return by Andy Lucas with 4-31. Spare a thought though for Conor Olphert who had 3 wickets, all from no-balls, as Newbuildings closed 80 short on 177 all out.
The closest finish of the day was at the Bleachgreen where Ardmore came up 18 runs short against Fox Lodge in a match that ebbed and flowed all afternoon. A timely half century from overseas man Cebo Tshiki (57) and cameos from Brian Allen (33) and Dean Mehaffey (27) gave the Ballymagorry side a solid start before Rameez Alam (3-25) and Decker Curry (2-31) brought the hosts back into it.
The Foxies still weren't done however and a priceless 51 from Luke Hayes batting at number 8 helped push their total up to a very respectable 221 for 9 from their 50 overs.
Despite a couple of early wickets for Aaron Heywood (3-35),Decker and Paul McDowell soon had the home side back on track in reply. McDowell made 32 and despite him and Kevin Martin falling in quick succession, Curry and Ryan Brolly took Ardmore to within 100 of victory with 6 wickets in hand.
Despite that it was to prove beyond them after Curry was out lbw to Tshiki for 47 and the best efforts of Peter Harrigan (35) late on were to count for nothing.
Gareth Heywood (3-43) tidied up as the Foxies booked a rare appearance in a senior-cup semi-final as Ardmore's innings closed on 203.
And that just left one more spot which was to be claimed by Ballyspallen as they won the all-Championship affair against Strabane by 33 runs. It was to be a tale of the two Young Players of the Year, this one- Graham Kennedy the current holder of the salver superb in Spallen's 191 all out as he made 82 while 2015 winner Aaron Gillespie's 92 not out wasn't enough for the Red Caps to chase them down.
Played in the most superb setting it was a 110-run stand between Kennedy and surprise debutant Craig Averill that helped the hosts to their total; Averill hitting 5 fours and a six in his 53 while his 17-year old batting partner added 13 fours in his excellent effort.
Mark Snodgrass (3-27) and Kevin Pretorius (2-48) fared best with the ball, however the Tyrone team's reply was pretty tame stuff.
With no Peter Gillespie in the side it was left to Aaron to try to get Strabane home and boy did he give it a go. Unfortunately the Warriors player could find no willing partners- skipper Barry Scott's 11 the next highest score to his as Strabane reply unravelled.
Stephen Kennedy (3-37) and Graham (2-17) were best of the attack while a couple of early run-outs summed up Strabane's day.
Some fantastic work has gone into the Bridge Park venue- credit Alex and John Kennedy and the Martin brothers among others for that, and a senior cup semi-final would not be out of place there if the last four draw is kind.