RAIN DECIMATES SATURDAY PROGRAMME

There was precious little to get excited about last weekend with only one match in the Championship played to a conclusion. That game saw St Johnston record their first win of 2018 as they got the better of Burndennett in a contest cut short by the inclement weather.

Batting first the home side were all out for 179 with Stephen McCay (27), Andy Barr (26), Ross McCay (24), Mark Pollock (23) and Lee Pollock (20) all chipping in. It certainly wasn’t a day for flamboyant stroke-play with Ian Macbeth (4-26) and Josh Cole (3-36) using conditions best for the Saints.

Heavy rain during the innings break saw the match reduced to 29 overs with the Donegal men set a revised target of 125- no bad deal for the batting side there. Still it was tough going although Andrew Fleming and Ramees Machingal steadied the ship well after the Boathouse boys lost a few quick wickets to Mark Snodgrass (2-19) and Ross McCay (2-35).

Ramees went for 21 but the North West chairman was having none of it and his 42 not out (4 fours) and 13 not out from Ian Macbeth got St Johnston home with just 3 deliveries to spare.

Unluckiest player of the day was certainly Darnell McCallum, the Ballyspallen overseas player who was 99* from just 52 balls when their game at home to Newbuildings was washed out. The West Indian hit 6 fours and 8 sixes in his knock as the hosts reached 140-1 in 20 overs, but that was as far as they got.

Elsewhere Drummond’s ground was deemed unplayable on Friday afternoon ahead of their game against Glendermott, while only 5 overs play were possible at Bonds Glen where Killyclooney were the visitors.


NEXT ON THE LIST

There are a few tight-looking contests down for decision next week with game of the day undoubtedly at Bridge Park where two free-scoring sides meet with plenty at stake. ‘Spallen are many people’s favourites for the title this year and they were in a good position to build on their opening day win in St Johnston when the rain arrived in Saturday’s game against Newbuildings.

The teams’ respective overseas players- Darnell McCallum and Andre Henry know each other’s game inside out and that head-to-head will be an interesting sub-plot to the main event. Both sides have a host of match-winners in their ranks too; Darren Moan starting the season on fire and although he fell cheaply at the weekend he will get another chance to play that one again.

‘Spallen aren’t short either and Graham Kennedy is one of half a dozen in the home ranks who might have a big say in the outcome.

It is difficult to pick a winner, but the home side would be the slightest of favourites to edge it.

Elsewhere Bonds Glen wouldn’t be without a chance of beating a Drummond side who don’t carry the same threat as they did the last time they were in this division. The visitors still have quality make no mistake about that, but the Bee Gees were well into Glendermott’s batting in their first game of the season before the experience of the Cooke brothers rescued the Rectory men.

Jason Lynch’s team entertain St Johnston this weekend and that too looks difficult to call after Ian Macbeth’s men registered a win at Burndennett on Saturday. Much could depend on the visitors’ personnel, but it is really difficult to ignore the impact David and Gordon have had at Bonds Street.

There are very few games ahead of Glendermott, especially at home, where you don’t look at it thinking- those two guys will have a big say in the outcome. This is another one of those.

The last game of the quartet sees Newbuildings with a good chance of breaking their duck for the season. Marty Mehaffey’s team have started slowly if truth be told but you expect them to come alive at any minute.

Burndennett have a win and a loss to their name so far and are another side who on their day would cause problems for most. Still have to think the home side are favourites this time though.