BIG GUNS THROUGH TO SENIOR CUP QUARTER-FINAL

There were few surprises on Saturday as the first round of this season’s Senior Cup got underway in glorious sunshine across the North West. While it will hardly go down as an out-and-out shock, Coleraine’s win away at Bready was probably the one that will have caught most pundits out as the Bannsiders lowered the league leaders’ colours with in a rapidly diminishing 3-wicket victory.

The Magheramason men’s early-season form has been down to the quality of their bowling attack however the Sandel Lodge side turned the tables in this one to dismiss Bready for just 128. Davy Scanlon’s team were missing a couple of regulars for the game and it showed as Irosh Samarasooriya’s 25 was the best of their effort with the bat.

Marc McCloskey (18), skipper Scanlon (16) and David Rankin (15) were next in after that as Scott Campbell (3-30), Varun Chopra (3-32) and Rishi Chopra (2-17) kept their hosts in check.

Despite losing Marcus Poskitt and Tim Chopra early on, a 72-run partnership between skipper Campbell (46) and Rishi Chopra (27) seemed to have teed Coleraine up for a convincing win. From 113-2 needing 26 more to win the visitors contrived to lose 5 wickets with teenager Gregory McFaul (4-26) unsettling the north coast men.

It wasn’t to be for Scanlon’s team however, as Matthew Hutchinson took the sting out of a nervy end as his six- hit sent Coleraine into the last eight.

Champions Donemana successfully negotiated a tricky opener as they came away from the Park with a 7-wicket verdict to keep alive the dream of seven cup wins in a row. Early wickets for Malith Cooray and William McClintock and a couple for Andy McBrine (2-29) soon had Strabane’s top order in bother as the visitors chased a first win of the season.

The steadying influence of Peter Gillespie was on hand to settle things down a bit in the middle order- the former Ireland International hitting 7 fours on his way to 59.

Gillespie and Ryan Gallagher (21) kept the visitors’ bowling at bay for a while before Khushpal Singh added 37 as the Red Caps closed on a respectable 188.

Jordan McGonigle (3-39) was best with the ball while Dwayne McGerrigle finished with 2-35 including the key wicket of Gillespie.

The Holm side lost the Riddles brothers in the early stages of their reply before a 97-run partnership between Cooray and McClintock put them in complete control. The Sri Lankan was unbeaten on 79 (6 fours and 2 sixes) at the end and although McClintock fell for 55 (6 fours and 2 sixes), the cup holders got the job done comfortably.

Brigade are through as well after Andy Britton’s team saw off the challenge of St Johnston at the Boathole. The Premiership side were on top early on as Ryan Macbeth led the line on his return to the Donegal venue.

Macbeth claimed 3-18 with Iftikhar Hussain chipping in with 2-16 as the Saints were reduced to 76-6 however a solid effort from David Macbeth (48) helped the hosts past three figures. Kyle Magee it was who finally ended the batsman’s effort- that the first wicket of the teenager’s 3-13 as the innings closed on 113.

Brigade looked set to record a 10-wicket margin as David Barr (36) and Gareth McKeegan (29) put on 74 for the first and the Waterside club managed to lose four more wickets after that in an untidy spell of play. Josh Cole (2-28) fared best with the ball for St Johnston but the Beechgrove team never at any stage looked likely to miss out.

Eglinton thumped Killyclooney by 223 runs courtesy of a superb unbroken 231-run partnership between Stuart Thompson and Jamie Millar. The in-form Ireland International oozed class as he hit 12 fours and 8 sixes in his 109-ball knock of 160* while Millar had 13 boundaries and 3 “maximums” in his 108*.

It was a toil in the sun for the Championship side’s bowlers and that was reflected in their batting as the key ‘Clooney top order was never dangerous. It was left to Mark Gordon (41) and Jordan Connor (23*) late on to raise some resistance but the game had long gone by then.

Ross Allen (4-24), Millar (3-23) and Mike Erlank (2-38) were the best with the ball for the villagers in an easy win.

Fox Lodge recorded a facile 8-wicket victory at neighbouring Burndennett where but for a superb knock from Eddie McGettigan it could have been embarrassing for the hosts. The ‘Dennett skipper hit 11 fours and 5 sixes in his 48-ball 86- sharing a 9th wicket stand of 102 with Julie Logue who made 10 not out.

Adam Walker (4-32) and Gareth Heywood (2-6) did most of the early damage as Burndennett slumped to 29-8 before McGettigan gave his side something to bowl at in a total of 134 all out.

It was face-saving but little else for the Championship outfit and although Mark Snodgrass and Stephen McCay picked up a wicket each to give the Foxies some mild early concern, they had more than enough in hand.

An unbroken stand between Cebo Tshiki (73*) and Aaron Heywood (35*) wrapped up the emphatic victory as Brian Allen’s side advanced to the quarter-final draw.

Ardmore are in the hat too- the Bleachgreen team’s overseas man Grant Mokoena making hay while the sun shone against Bonds Glen in a 122-run win. The South African hadn’t quite found his feet since arriving last month but had things much more to his liking here as he hit 18 fours and 3 sixes in his 119.

Paul McDowell’s 64 at the top of the order coupled with 38 from Ryan Brolly, 30 from Steve Lazars and 29 not out from Peter Harrigan allowed the Premier Division side to post a mammoth 338-7, but the Bee Gees certainly didn’t roll over.

A good start from the top three- Roy Robinson (40), Ewald Roberts (29) and Kyle Moore (26) saw the Bee Gees at 126-2 at one stage but although David Robinson made an unbeaten 43 late on, they couldn’t sustain it.

Steve Lazars (4-45) was the pick of the home team’s bowling with Decker Curry (2-8) and David Anthony (2-34) tidying up.

Newbuildings and Ballyspallen will fly the flag for the second tier in the quarter-finals as they emerged from the two all-Championship ties.

Chris Cooper’s 68 (8 fours, 4 sixes) paved the way for Newbuildings to post a competitive 236 as they entertained Drummond. Jason Dunn added a valuable late 29 while 27 from Clinton Pienaar, 26 from Darren Moore and 22 from Ross Hunter provided the bulk of the rest.

Mattie Mills (3-22), Simon Dunn (2-30), Ricky McDaid (2-37) and Curtis McElwee (2-44) were the wicket-takers for the Roe Valley outfit.

Drummond were in the hunt throughout to be fair- 50 from skipper Chris Moore, 47 from Kyle Morrow and 37 from McElwee got them to 182 for 5, but they couldn’t close it out. For the second week running it was Peter Allen’s bowling (4-30) that saw the hosts through as the visitors lost their last five batsmen for just 17 runs to be all out on 199.

And finally to what proved to be the game of the day at the Rectory where Ballyspallen beat Glendermott for the second time in a fortnight.

Craig Averill’s 103 (15 fours) was the highlight of the first innings as the visitors were all out for 270 with an over left unused. It was actually a decent fightback by the home team after Graham Kennedy (46), Stephen Kennedy (38) and Mark Averill (22) looked to have put ‘Spallen on course for something well over 300.

Gordon Montgomery’s 5-28 late on put paid to that and the former skipper was in form with the bat as well as Glendermott gave everything in the chase.

“Goofer” hit 11 fours and a 6 in his 67, sharing in a half century stand with David Cooke who made 30. The real push however was to come as the home side’s last two wickets put on 117 as they so nearly stunned their visitors.

Gordon Cooke made 61 (8 fours and a six), Todd Killen added 38 and Adam Warnock 17 not out but time ran out on their charge to leave Glendermott 15 runs short at the end of their 50 overs.

Stuart Kennedy’s 3-43 was valuable in the context of the game as the eight winners headed into Sunday afternoon’s draw.