STRABANE REACH IRISH SENIOR CUP SEMI-FINALS
It was a weekend to remember for Strabane as they all but secured their place in the Premier League with an emphatic win over Coleraine. Indeed, they are well placed to mount a title challenge to Bready, should the Magheramason side do a Devon Loch and falter on the home straight.
The club also launched the official history of Strabane at the tea interval, the latest publication by renowned cricket historian Billy Platt.
To complete a memorable treble of good news, on Sunday they travelled to Phoenix and came away with a superb six-wicket victory to secure their semi-final spot.
Chathura Peiris, Rachit Gaur and Ryan Gallagher all played their part in a win that sees them dreaming of repeating their success of 1998, when they beat Ballymena to capture the Irish Senior Cup for the first, and to date only time.
They will be seen as rank outsiders for the competition, with holders Waringstown and Dublin powerhouses Merrion and Clontarf standing in their way.
That will suit the Red Caps just fine in a season where they were widely tipped for an immediate return to the Championship after an opening day defeat at Fox Lodge.
They meet the Ballymagorry side again on Sunday in a re-arranged Premier League match, and victory for Tommy Barr’s side will have them dreaming of a possible double.
MIXED FORTUNES FOR BREADY
It was a bitter-sweet weekend for Bready, with them cementing their place at the top of the Premiership with a solid six-wicket win in the league over Ardmore on Saturday, followed by a five-wicket loss to Brigade in the Faughan Valley Cup on Sunday.
Half centuries from David Rankin and Irosh Samarasooriya – who passed the 500-run landmark in the process – ensured a relatively trouble free chase against an Ardmore side who remain rooted to the bottom of the table.
However, they surrendered their T20 crown to Brigade at The Rectory, always playing catch-up after a disastrous start had them reeling at 7 for 3 with their two batting big guns gone.
Sunday sees Bready travelling to Donemana, and a win here would set them up for title success. They face a challenging run-in, with away trips to Strabane and Brigade, as well as home games against Coleraine and Eglinton, but have a healthy lead at the summit which allows them some breathing space.
There’s no doubt they have played the most consistent cricket in the league to date, and will be fully deserving of the crown.
CUP SUCCESS CONTINUES FOR DONEMANA IN ULSTER PLATE
Their senior side may be out of contention for league and cup glory but it’s shaping up to be quite a memorable season for Donemana’s second string.
They currently top the league table, have a cup final showdown with Eglinton at Ardmore next week, and have reached the final of the Derry Midweek Cup.
In addition, they will have home advantage in the final of the Ulster Plate after steam-rollering Ardmore at the Bleachgreen at the weekend.
In a relatively low-scoring contest, Donemana recovered from a precarious 57 for 5 to post 180 for 6, with Graham Boyd making an unbeaten 64, sharing a sixth wicket stand of 80 with Kyle Dougherty, who made 44.
Skipper Reece Laird chipped in with an unbeaten 18, while leg-spinner David Anthony was best with the ball for the home side with 3 for 30.
Thomas Brolly (21) got Ardmore off to a brisk start as they reached 30 without loss before the wheels fell off in quite spectacular fashion.
Christopher Neely had the remarkable figures of 5 for 5, Willie McBrine took 3 for 14, and Kyle Dougherty 2 for 13 as Ardmore lost ten wickets for just 22 to implode to 52 all out.
Donemana will now face Muckamore in the decider at The Holm on Sunday August 19th, with the 40-over decider starting at 1pm.
STRABANE SAINTS AND FOX LODGE MEET IN CUP FINAL
Friday night sees the blue riband competition in the local women’s game, when Strabane Saints take on Fox Lodge in the decider at Burndennett. These two sides along with Burndennett have been setting the pace in the Women’s League this year, and it is sure to be a competitive tie.
The Saints’ ladies who currently are on top of the Ladies league are determined to get the cup back to Strabane Park after missing out in the 2017 decider.
Fox Lodge have proven that they are still a force to reckoned with and with key players such as Emma Allen, Mollie Devine and Sarah Black on their side they are sure not to go down without a fight.
Strabane Saints skipper Megan Moorehead said: "We are delighted to be in this year’s final after missing out in 2017 for the first time since we started up.
"We know we are going into this final against a competitive team but we have worked extremely hard to get this far and we will continue to do so till the end and hopefully become 2018 cup champions."
All the action kicks off at 6.30pm at Burndennett Cricket Club, and all support is welcomed for what is always a great occasion in the women's cricket calendar.
The teams will have a chance to make it a double success when the NW sort out the remaining league fixtures after a mid-season break.
Fox Lodge XI: Hannah McLaughlin (captain), Emma Allen, Sarah Black,
Mollie Devine, Angel Laird, Ashleigh McGuinness, Jamee McCauley, Kara Bates, Lucy Blair, Riona Cairns, Emma Wasson.
Strabane Saints (from): Megan Moorehead (captain)
Angie McPorter (vice-captain), Denise McDonald, Hazel Magee, Úna Patton, Ciara Crookes-Gillespie, Emma Doherty, Chloe Deans, Courtney Deans, Nicola Mullen, Rachel McCallan, Naomi Wasson, Gemma Crumley, Lucy McGranaghan, Deborah McClintock.
TYRONE PLAYERS DOMINATE NW WOMEN’S SQUAD
The NW have named their squad for Saturday's interpro clash at Bready, after the original game was rained off last week.
Tyrone players dominate the squad with five players from Fox Lodge, two from Bready and one from Strabane.
The match will take place alongside the NW Senior Cup final, on the upper ground at Bready and is a great opportunity to showcase the fixture to a new audience.The 40-over fixture gets under way at 12 o'clock.
NW WOMEN’S SQUAD
Emma Allen (c) (Fox Lodge), Mollie Devine (Fox Lodge), Sarah Black (Fox Lodge), Zara Craig (Eglinton), Sophie Killen (Bready), Hannah McLaughlin (wk) (Fox Lodge), Rea Moore (Eglinton), Alana Dalzell (Bready), Chloe Deans (Strabane), Kacey Laird (Newbuildings), Angel Laird (Fox Lodge).
STRABANE LOSE OUT IN UNDER 11 FINAL
There was disappointment for Strabane’s Under 11 side as they were beaten by St Johnston in the cup final at Strabane Park.
Half centuries from Sam MacBeth and Harry Pearson led the Donegal side to 134 for 2 in their 20 overs, and despite TJ Boyd hitting 34 and Charlie Simpson 20, Strabane fell short.