The North West Premier Division goes into a 5-week break after this weekend to allow for a variety of domestic and International cricket next month and it is Davy Scanlon’s Bready who will now sit proudly at the top of the table until at least the first week in June.
The Magheramason side swatted away the challenge of Fox Lodge on Saturday to post another 9-wicket winning margin- the same as they had to spare over Donemana on opening weekend-leaving them the only side in the division on maximum points.
Skipper Scanlon had a major hand in Saturday’s rout as he claimed a brace of early wickets to finish with figures of 3-3 from 6 overs. Teenager Gregory McFaul (3-25) was just as impressive at the other end and with Craig Young’s workload being managed by Cricket Ireland ahead of a potentially busy period of representative action, the North West under-17 bowler grabbed his chance with the new ball when the opportunity came.
Only Brian Allen (17) offered much in the way of resistance for the visitors; no-one else getting into doubles figures (except for the reliable Mr Extras with 14) in a fairly miserable total of 69 all out.
The league leaders needed 16 overs to knock off the required runs with Kyle Hamilton making 39 not out and Irosh Samarasooriya 20* as they won easily.
Rain played a significant part in the rest of the day’s games starting at the Holm where champions Donemana’s poor start to the season continued. Both these sides were desperate for points having lost their respective league openers but it was the villagers who came away with the win courtesy of a superb knock from Stuart Thompson.
The Ireland International showed that he is in fine touch ahead of the North West Warriors trip to Leinster on Tuesday as he made a classy 128- hitting 9 fours and 10 sixes in his quality knock. The villagers’ skipper shared a 138-run stand with new overseas man Mike Erlank that helped their side recover from a shaky 28-3 early on.
Erlank hit 6 fours and 3 sixes in his 67 but other than this pair and 21 from Andy Millar at the top of the order there were no other contributors of note as Eglinton closed on 269 all out. William McBrine (4-35) was the pick of the home attack with William (2-20) and Gary McClintock (2-34) tidying up.
The revised DLS total set the hosts 260 to win in 47 overs and they seemed to be cruising at 42-0 in reply before Thompson’s side turned the game on its head. Three wickets for Ross Allen who bowled superbly (3-25) and a couple for Erlank (2-32) saw the home side lose their top five for the addition of just 7 more runs. That 42-0 was now 49-5- Tom Riddles (31) the best of it up to that point- before a 6th wicket stand of 127 between William McClintock and Ricky-Lee Dougherty put the cat back among the pigeons.
The skipper added 45 while McClintock went on to make 102 (7 fours, 9 sixes) however once both were dismissed, Donemana couldn’t close the gap any further, leaving Eglinton to post a 25-run verdict. Lee Ritchie it was who sealed Donemana’s fate as he claimed 3-34 late on with Thompson deservedly finishing his day with the two remaining wickets and a stunning catch to get his team on the points board.
The other two games in the top flight were eventually abandoned meaning an early headache for the Fixture Secretary with a busy schedule already looming. Brigade will feel they were well on top at home to Coleraine after half-centuries from Johnny Thompson, Gareth McKeegan and Iftikhar Hussain had helped them rack up 251 all out in their 50 overs.
Thompson was in the news earlier this week having been left out of the Warriors squad for Dublin, but he was certainly in the mood against the Bannsiders, hitting 2 fours and 8 sixes in his even-time 80. McKeegan hit 3 fours and 6 “maximums” on his way to 66 while Hussain’s 63 was more measured (4 fours and a six).
The wheels came off a little after that in the chase for late runs and from 171 for 3 the innings tailed off in the latter stages. Graham Hume was again in the thick of the action for the visitors, his 4-21 from 10 overs an excellent effort in the grander scheme of things. Scott Campbell (2-47) was best of the rest with the ball for the visitors.
Marcus Poskitt was back at the top of the Coleraine order despite his recent hand injury, but Coleraine lost him and skipper Campbell early in their reply. The clouds were by then gathering however and with the score on 28-2 after 9 overs, Umpires were forced to call a halt for the day.
Up at Strabane Park Steve Lazars must be wondering what he has to do to get Ardmore their first win of the season. The Warriors man has now made consecutive half-centuries for his new club but neither has counted for anything to date.
Last weekend it was Varun Chopra’s heroics that saw the Bleachgreen side slip-up and this time it was the elements. Ardmore under-15 player Conor King also comes in for special mention here- drafted into the senior starting XI for the first time the youngster batted superbly to finish unbeaten on 47 as Gary Neely’s mean reached 197-7 after 38 overs before rain and hail arrived at the Park as well.
Chathura Peiris looks a useful addition to Strabane’s beleaguered attack and he was by far the pick returning figures of 3-16 from his 8 overs. Taylor Rouse did a very good job as well with 2-32 and Aaron Gillespie wasn’t expensive in his 6 overs, however elsewhere the Red Caps struggled. Last week they gave away 50 in “extras” in that defeat at Fox Lodge and Ardmore’s total here was boosted by another 37 giveaways.
As it stood the sides weren’t to get back on again anyway and they’ll have to do it again another time but it’s a record the home side needs to improve if they are to compete in this division.
Only one game was played to a conclusion in the Championship- North West Union chairman Andrew Fleming making an unbeaten 42 as St Johnston won by 5 wickets at Burndennett.