RAO AND SCOTT TAKE UP COACHING ROLES

The NWCU recently announced the appointment of Bobby Rao and Barry Scott in two new highly club-focused coaching roles. They are being employed on short-term positions as School and Club Development Coaches until the end of August and are being supported through a combination of sponsorship income and grant funding.

Former Indian Test player Rao has fulfilled a number of prestigious coaching roles both here and abroad. He brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge to the role, while Fox Lodge opener Scott has forged an excellent reputation with his recent work with NW and Irish youth teams.

“I am glad to be back where I started, coaching at schools and clubs,” said Rao.

“It’s certainly a challenge to bring back club cricket in the NW to the old times, but one which I relish and will embrace wholeheartedly.”

TYRONE PLAYERS TO THE FORE IN YOUTH SQUADS

There are four Tyrone players included in the North-West U15 squad which starts their interpro campaign with an away trip to Lisburn on Sunday.

Brook Crumley (Bready), Craig Doherty (Fox Lodge), Kenzie Hall (Killyclooney), and Tom Harpur (Strabane) are included in the squad of 13, which will travel to Dublin later in the moth for a week-long festival of cricket with a mix of T20 and 50-over games against Leinster, a Southern XI and the NCU.

The NW Under 17’s were beaten in their interpro opener last Sunday. Bready’s Gregory McFaul took four wickets but his team lost by 85 runs to the NCU, for whom Harry Warke, son of former international Stephen, scored 117.

RUNS BONANZA FOR FOX LODGE LADIES

There was a run bonanza for Fox Lodge Ladies on Monday night as they racked up their highest ever total as they beat Newbuildings in the cup.

Emma Allen scored 102, hitting 13 fours and 6 sixes, sharing a century partnership with Sarah Black who just missed out on her hundred, being dismissed by Mia Smyth for 93 which included 9 fours and 2 sixes.

Mollie Devine hit eight boundaries in an unbeaten 37 as the Foxies racked up 257 for 1 in their 20 overs.

In reply Newbuildings made 100 for 8, with Kacey Laird making 46 and Leanne Riddles 22.

Kara Bates took four wickets for just 12 runs, while Lucy Blair, Jamee McCauley, Mollie Devine and Angel Laird all took a wicket apiece.

Strabane also progressed after they defeated Killyclooney by 8 wickets. Megan Moorehead and Chloe Deans were among the wickets as they dismissed them for 65.

Anji McPorter then struck 31 as they coasted to victory.

HEYWOOD HELPS STUDENTS TO UNIVERSITY FINAL

Fox Lodge all-rounder Aaron Heywood helped Ulster University reach the final of the Irish Universities competition.

He took 2 for 17 as Ulster beat Galway by 58 runs in the semi-final at College Park, to set up a final decider against DIT, also at Trinity.

DONEMANA BACK IN TITLE RACE

Write off Donemana at your peril! The defending champions sent out a stark message to potential title rivals with a demolition job on a Brigade side expected to be one of their main challengers.

Malith Cooray and Gary McClintock set the win up with a 160-run stand and the Donemana attack then finished the job skittling the Beechgrove side for 120.

The Holm side had lost their opening two games to sit foot of the table, and a loss at the weekend would have all but ended their hopes of another title.

Former Irish international Jordan McGonigle acknowledged the importance of the win.

“It was good to get one in the win column for sure and it was also big because people were talking about us being out of the title race after two matches” he began.

“An 8-team league means a fairly short campaign, but you couldn’t realistically rule anyone out that early. There has been talk as well about us focusing solely on the senior cup and while everyone knows how much that competition means to the club I would imagine it means as much to all clubs.

“The North West senior title is a very, very important part of the domestic season and of course we want to win it. We’ve claimed the title for the last two years running and that doesn’t happen by accident.

“That is probably why beating Brigade meant so much last weekend. Maybe players get into a mindset where if they do lose a league game we can still claw it back whereas you get no second chances in the cup.

“Getting a big score at Beechgrove was the key. We knew they’d have to go some to chase it down so the plan was to keep things as tight in the Power Play and then use our four spin options to try to strangle the match. The pitch worked in our favour- it was obviously prepared to suit the seamers, which is Brigade’s strength- but while it was taking spin it wasn’t spinning every ball and that put the doubt in the batsmen’s mind.

“It will count for little if we don’t back it up against Coleraine on Saturday though. I know people talk about the players they’ve lost over the winter but looking at their scores and results they don’t seem to have weakened too much.”

“It should be a decent game and the boys are all looking forward to it.”