Donemana’s quest for a record seventh senior cup win on the bounce ended at the penultimate hurdle on Sunday as Brigade finally put one over on their old adversaries with a 4-wicket win in Tyrone.
The hosts made an impressive 286 for 8 from their 50 overs with 110 of those coming in the last seven after some thoroughly entertaining cricket for the big crowd to enjoy. Skipper Ricky-Lee Dougherty did the bulk of the damage; the keeper/batsman smashing 5 sixes in the 49th over bowled by his opposite number, Andy Britton.
Dougherty finished unbeaten on 84 made off just 50 balls and containing 3 fours and 9 sixes in all. He shared an 8th wicket partnership of 96 with Dwayne McGerrigle who made 43 (4 fours, 3 sixes). Mark Simpson got his 10 overs in early and avoided the carnage to finish with 2-31.
Andy McBrine’s 68 had earlier got the home side back on track after Brigade had bowled very well in the opening overs.
The Beechgrove side’s reply started really well with David Barr and Gareth McKeegan (33) putting on 58 for the first wicket before Barr and Iftikhar Hussain changed the course of the game with a partnership of 110.
Barr (76), Hussain (56) and then the final, telling unbroken stand between Niall McDonnell (33*) and Jonny Robinson (23*) was enough to get the visitors over the line despite a typically battling effort from the Donemana spinners.
The other semi-final was much lower-scoring but was one of the closest ties in the history of the cup as Eglinton got themselves into an almighty tangle before falling over the line. It had all started so well for Stuart Thompson’s team as they reduced their championship opponents to 39-8 courtesy of the skipper’s 4-23 and 3-12 from Mike Erlank.
Mark Hannah (30 not out) led a brief fightback as the home side were eventually all out for 80, having used just over 15 of their 50 overs with Ross Allen (2-10) tidying up the tail.
The villagers lost a couple of early wickets to Trent McKeegan (2-31) before skipper Thompson made a telling 31 as the reply reached 69-2. Needing just 12 to win from there however the Premiership side absolutely imploded as Chris Cooper (4 for 1) and Jason Dunn (3-24) had the big local crowd on the edge of their seats.
Still 3 short of their target it took a boundary from young Robbie Millar batting at number 11 to take Eglinton to the final with the last pair in the middle and much to the huge relief of their supporters.
At the Holm, Brigade beat Donemana by 4 wickets
Donemana 286-8 (50 overs; RL Dougherty 84*, A McBrine 68, D McGerrigle 43, G McClintock 29, A Riddles 23, M Simpson 2-31)
Brigade 292-6 (48 overs; D Barr 76, I Hussain 56, N McDonnell 33*, G McKeegan 33, J Robinson 23*, A Britton 21, A McBrine 2-29, W McBrine 2-49, J McGonigle 2-67)
At Newbuildings, Eglinton beat Newbuildings by 1 wicket
Newbuildings 80 all out (15.3 overs; M Hannah 30*, S Thompson 4-23, M Erlank 3-12, R Allen 2-10)
Eglinton 83-9 (15.4 overs; S Thompson 31, C Cooper 4-1, J Dunn 3-24, T McKeegan 2-31)