Stunning wins for Limavady and Donemana
STUNNING WINS FOR DONEMANA AND LIMAVADY IN IRISH SENIOR CUP
The North West may have gone in to the third round of the prestigious All-Ireland Cup competition with just two of its initial ten teams still standing, but despite both being handed tough assignments with away draws in Leinster, each recorded a superb victory to book their place in the quarter finals.
Pride of place went to Donemana who must surely have felt the Gods were against them after they travelled to Dublin and beat a strong Malahide team in the second round only to be handed another trip south to one of the tournament favourites, The Hills.
As everyone in the North West is well aware however, Donemana don't do underdog tags and the Tyrone men turned in a stunning bowling and fielding performance to restrict their hosts to just 133 all out. Albert Van Der Merwe top scored with 38 of those and only Mike O'Dwyer with 21 further down the order offered any real resistance as the Donemana attack stifled the life out of their celebrated opponents. Azhar Shaffique's 9 overs cost just 10 runs and young Andy McBrine belied his youth with superb figures of 3 for 29. Stephen Dunn, Junior McBrine and Jordan McGonagle all picked up 2 wickets in an excellent team performance.
Despite losing McBrine early in their innings Richard Kee and Azhar Shaffique set about making short work of the chase thereafter and the latter was in tremendous form as his unbeaten 70 added to Kee's 35 not out saw them cruise to victory with a ton in hand.
Limavady were up against Brigade's conquerors, Old Belvedere, but the North West league leaders had few anxious moments in truth as they proved much too strong for the Dublin outfit. David Cooke won the toss and opted to field on a worn track and his opinion proved well founded as only Calder with 43 and Yogesh with 21 put up much of a show in the hosts' total of 137 all out. Ricky McDaid with 4 for 33 was the pick of the visitors bowling, with Chris Moore claiming 2 for 35.
The old firm of Des Curry and Ian McGregor paired up again at the top of the order as the Roesiders signalled their determination to take no chances and those two posted a half century stand before McGregor departed. Curry went on to make 54 as the Leinster side ran out of ideas and after he finally went, brothers Richard (34 not out) and Mark McDaid (18 not out) steered their side home at their leisure. Results elsewhere would suggest that the competition is as open this season as it has been for some time and although current holders and favourites North County are still in the running, few will fancy a journey to the North West when the last 8 draw takes place next week.
With those two sides otherwise engaged, Strabane availed of the opportunity to draw level at the top of Division 1 of the North West league when they thrashed Eglinton at the Village to move on to 10 points from 5 games. Batting first, Andy Christie's side was indebted to a half century from their professional Simon Jackson and an unbeaten 25 from Chris Pierce in a very disappointing effort of 140 all out. The bowling honours were shared between Phil Eaglestone, Mark Gillespie, Ciaran Patton, Jonathan Beukes and Tommy Barr, all with 2 wickets each as Strabane sensed their chance to preserve their unbeaten league record.
Niall McDonnell fairly set about the Villagers' attack, signaling his intent by blasting the first ball of the innings from Richard Stewart onto the main road. McDonnell and Kevin Martin put on 108 for the first wicket to see to it that Mark Gillespie and Jonathan Beukes were able to enjoy a break after last weekend's heroics. The South African was called into action after McDonnell departed for a well struck 69, but Martin with 31 not out and Beukes with 29 not out saw them home very easily. For all the talk of their lack of bowling options Peter Gillespie's side has a really solid look about them this season and they will surely be enjoying the fact that for now they appear well capable of serving it up to the best that the league has to offer.
Rain played a part in all three league games on Saturday and the match at Coleraine between the home side and Brigade looked several times as though it may be lost to the weather. Still without a league win the Bannsiders were keen to get this one played and mainly thanks to an excellent half century from Tim Chopra and a well struck 39 not out from Wilson Torrens as well as 33 from their professional Mohammed Salman they looked as though they were working their way into a decent position.
When more rain returned late on Saturday evening however with the home team on 177 for 5 and with 3 overs left to bat they were faced with a difficult decision. Should they declare and forfeit the 3 overs or face the game being washed out and start again as a T20 replay. In the end Vischal Chopra decided to gamble and he has opted to bring Brigade back on Monday and Tuesday evenings to see if they can find the 178 runs that will win the points for them. Much will depend on Iftikhar Hussain if Brigade are to prevent Coleraine claiming their first league points of the season and this one could make for very interesting viewing before it's over.
The game at Ballymagorry was something of a run feast as Fox Lodge made 251 for 6 in their 50 overs courtesy of another excellent Brian Allen innings of 77, with useful contributions from Johnny Robinson (45), professional Darryl Brown (32) and Richard McCorkell (25).
Unfortunately for the home team however Bready's batsmen made light work of the challenge, all the top order getting among the runs in a convincing 6 wicket win. Con De Lange continued his excellent run with the bat making 72 whilst David Rankin and Steven Clarke both made 47 and Robert Rankin 27 not out in a straightforward enough win.
That now takes Bready on to 8 points and clear their place behind Limavady and Strabane as an intriguing title race looks on the cards.