TABLE TOPPERS BREADY SEARCHING FIRST TITLE
Bready sit proudly at the summit of the premiership table after another impressive bowling display saw them dismiss Brigade for 92. Although they wobbled slightly in the chase, a determined Andy Austin got them over the line and at the half-way stage the Magheramson side are in pole position to claim a historic first title.
After a few seasons of struggle, the transformation has been remarkable, and skipper David Scanlon pointed out what he feels are the main reasons for their success to date.
“We have a solid team now with at least 14 players capable of holding down a spot. The youngsters are really pushing the established players for a place and this increased competitiveness helps everyone. People now realise that if they don’t perform then they could be down with the seconds for a week or two. The mindset of certain players has got a lot better from that.
“I also think the contribution from our overseas player Irosh has been fantastic, not just on the field but with him taking over the training with my unavailability with the Warriors has really worked out, with the guys buying into it and are really buzzing during these sessions.
Bready’s trip to the top has been spearheaded by their bowling unit which has seen four teams dismissed for less than a hundred.
“The bowling has obviously played a pivotal part. When you have someone of the calibre of Craig Young in the side then seam is going to play a crucial part. He and myself have formed a potent partnership and taking top order, early wickets is massive in the context of winning matches in NW cricket.
“Gregory McFaul has done well when he’s played and we have plenty of variety in the attack with Irosh, Ryan Barr and Andy Lucas. We have got depth to the attack, but obviously with us doing so well in the early overs, they haven’t had much of a chance to show it.”
While the bowling has been exceptional, the batting unit has been a little more fragile. Can they improve and deliver the Premiership crown?
“I think we can. Andy Austin being back will help and the guys know there is an onus on them to work hard and get positive results. We capitulated at Coleraine a few weeks ago but everyone held their hands up and knew it was a bad day. We plan to not have too many more of them.
“We’re not going to be shouting that we are going to win the league, but we are playing good, hard competitive cricket at the minute and we’ll continue to do that just taking each game as they come. We have got three winnable games coming up and if we can get at least two wins from those, it will set us up going into the back end of the season really well.”
FOXIES GAIN FOURTH WIN
Fox Lodge continue to defy the odds and the critics as they won again in the Premier League at the weekend.
Cebo Tshiki starred with bat and ball as they overcame rivals Ardmore by 13 runs in a tight contest, a result which leaves them in a comfortable mi-table position.
“Saturday was another great game of cricket played in a really committed fashion by both teams that ebbed and flowed throughout,” said Fox Lodge all-rounder Jason Milligan.
“Thankfully we were able to stick to the basics to get over the line and record another home win.”
South African overseas professional Cebo Tshiki followed up his 71 with a five-wicket haul, and after a modest debut season, he has really come to the fire. What did Milligan think was responsible for the transformation?
“Cebo hasn’t really changed much at all to be honest. The main thing speaking with him is that he knows what to expect this season in regards to the pace of the wickets, players he is playing with and against.
“He is able to assess conditions a lot better now which is a massive help for him and as I’m sure you’re seeing his stats speak for himself.
“I’m delighted for him as he’s a great team mate on the field and a great friend off it.
“There’s a mid-season break this weekend with the T20 interpro Festival in Dublin, while the next half of the season we will be hoping for much more the same keeping our standard to as high as level as we have been so far this season. Hopefully the positive results will keep coming for us.”
TYRONE PLAYERS TO THE FORE IN U17 INTERPROS
There are no fewer than eight Tyrone based players representing the NW in the ongoing Under 17 interprovincial series in the Belfast region this week.
There is the Fox Lodge trio of Adam Boyd, Ali Doherty and Aidan Logue, Bready’s triumvirate of Cameron Knight, Jamie McCombe and Gregory McFaul, as well as Rhys Logue of Strabane and William Finlay of Killyclooney.
The competition hasn’t started too well for the NW, losing all three 50-over games to sit bottom of the table.
McFaul took five wickets in those losses, while Aiden Logue made a half century and Jamie McCombe top scored in an 8-wicket loss to table toppers the Southern XI.
The youngsters will be hoping for better fortunes when the competition switches to T20 mode today and Friday.
ERIC COOKE T20 SEMI-FINALS TONIGHT
With Bready on course to defend their T20 title after an emphatic 8-wicket win over Donemana, the attention now switches to the Championship sides who do battle tonight in the Eric Cooke T20 semi-finals.
Bonds Glen entertain Glendermott, while in the other half of the draw, St Johnston take on Newbuildings in Donegal.
The finals day is scheduled for Sunday July 22nd at Ballyspallen, with a double header of matches.
BREADY LADIES PICK UP FIRST WIN
Bready collected their first league points of the season after a thrilling last over win against Killyclooney.
Steph Wilkinson top scored with 45, and Amy Campbell made 23 as they chased down 102 to win with a ball to spare.
Carol McCrea and Vanessa Buchanan each collected two wickets for Bready, while Killyclooney’s Hollie McCarron also claimed two victims.
It was a relieved Vanessa Buchanan who said after the game:
‘’This was one of the closest games we have played this season, Killyclooney gave us a thriller of a game and they fought hard to the very end. I am delighted to pick up a victory and I hope we keep up this effort for the reminder of the season.’’
DOUGHERTY NEARLY EMULATES SOBERS…AND HIS BROTHER
Donemana skipper Ricky-Lee Dougherty nearly emulated Garfield Sobers, and his younger brother Levi by joining a unique band of cricketers who have hit 6 sixes in an over.
Ricky-Lee clubbed Brigade skipper Andy Britton for five sixes in the 49th over of their senior cup semi-final clash at The Holm this past weekend.
However, he missed out on one to fall just short of joining the exclusive club. Dougherty hit 9 sixes in total but wasn’t able to prevent Donemana slipping to a four-wicket loss as their quest for a seventh consecutive triumph was ended by rivals Brigade.
One interested spectator at the game was Herbie Kennedy, who was on the receiving end from Victor Craig 42 years ago when the Irish international hit him for six sixes. Kennedy didn’t let the experience take him down too much as he took a seven-wicket haul the following week.