MCGONIGLE EXCITED BY BRIGADE CHALLENGE

The NW senior cup action got underway at the weekend with most of the big guns emerging unscathed. The only exception was Bready whose indifferent start to the campaign saw them bowing out after defeat at Glendermott.

Donemana had another routine win over Coleraine, and their reward is to be handed a home draw against an in-form Brigade, with the two looking set for a long summer ahead battling with each other for the major domestic honours.

It’s undoubtedly a tie neither side wanted at this stage, but former Irish international Jordan McGonigle is philosophical about the draw.

“The draw obviously has everyone talking because it’s us and Brigade, and we look forward to it. It’ll be a huge weekend as we play each other twice in two days, Beechgrove in the league and then at the Holm on Sunday in the cup.”

The left-arm spinner is an integral part of the Donemana attack, playing in all six final wins between 2012-2017, and felt Saturday’s display in ousting Coleraine was a solid effort, with room for improvement.

“Saturday’s victory was earned with another solid bowling display that left us chasing a fairly small target. We lost a few unnecessary wickets in chasing it down which we’ll work on but overall delighted to progress to the next round.”

Elsewehere in the cup there were mixed fortunes for Tyrone sides, but Strabane’s search for a first success since 1993 continues after they scored an impressive away win at Newbuildings. Three wickets apiece for Chathura Peiris and Ryan Gallagher meant a modest run chase, of which they were always in control thanks to Rhys Logue’s undefeated half century. They travel to Ballyspallen in the last eight, after the Bridge Park side easily overcame St Johnston.

Fox Lodge lost the closest game of the day, going down at home by 24 runs to Ardmore for whom former Foxie Gary Neely scored a crucial 40 down the order in a relatively low-scoring affair. Ardmore face Eglinton in the quarter-finals.

Glendermott, conquerors of Bready are also at home, taking on Killyclooney who recorded an impressive ten-wicket victory over an out of sorts Bonds Glen, while Burndennett bowed out at holders Brigade.

The quarter-finals are down for decision on Sunday June 9th.

NW SENIOR CUP QUARTER-FINALS DRAW

Donemana v Brigade; Ardmore v Eglinton; Glendermott v Killyclooney; Ballyspallen v Strabane.

MCGETTIGAN HITS TON IN BURNDENNETT WIN

They may have lost as expected in the cup, but there are many reasons for optimism at Burndennett, who followed up an impressive Sammy Jeffrey win with a thumping win over Killyclooney in the league.

Ross McCay has been to the fore in the early stages of the campaign, following up his bowling heroics last week to this time star with the bat alongside Eddie McGettigan, who scored a superb hundred which included 10 fours and 8 sixes – the pair adding 192 for the 7th wicket as they beat Killyclooney.

The skipper is pleased with his side’s progress thus far, and is keen to keep the run going in the league this weekend.

“I think it's been a good start to the season for us. We went to Brigade on Saturday which was always going to be difficult, but we came out of the game with a few positives. The boys bowled very well down there although we only scored 75 which was disappointing but that's why Brigade are one of the top sides around.

“We played really well against Killyclooney on Sunday. Our batting line-up is very strong this year and that showed. Ross and myself put on a 192-run partnership batting at 7and 8 and brought the total up to well over 300.

“I was lucky enough to get a century and Ross just missed out by 9 runs on his, but I'm certain he'll have a great year. He's really on form with bat and ball so far and he will be a huge influence on our season if he keeps playing the way he is. We have St Johnston at the 'Dennett next week and we're really hoping to keep the momentum going.”

MILLIGAN SCORES TON AS FOXIES BATTLE BACK

Fox Lodge bounced back from their cup exit to edge a hard-fought 16-run win over Newbuildings. The win was based around a century from all-rounder Jason Milligan, who hit 10 fours and 5 sixes as he and Aidan Logue – who scored his maiden senior half century – added 132 for the fifth wicket.

They survived a Darnell McCallum onslaught to hold their nerve and close out a morale boosting victory as they look to bounce straight back to the top flight.

“I’m obviously absolutely delighted to get a hundred so early on in the season and that can only set me up well for the upcoming games,” said Milligan.

“The main thing though was the team winning and if my hundred contributing to that helps the team get the win that’s all that matters. That game on Sunday was a great advert for the sport both teams giving their all to the very end thankfully we just did enough to get over the line.

“Also I’d like to give a shout out to Newbuildings on the ground down there, which is a serious credit to their hard work which has all paid off to give them a wonderful arena for cricket.

“The season so far is looking good we have a really young squad now and that’s the way it’s going to be. We have some very talented players who will only get better with experience. I think we will have a good season and will be competitive in every game we set out to play.

“Coenie Nel – our new overseas player has fitted in very well with the lads. He is going to need a few games to get used to the conditions over here which are a lot slower to what he is used to, but he will be fine and we are all looking forward to playing the rest of the season with him.”

T20 TOURNAMENT STARTS

There’s a new format in the NW T20 competition this year, with all teams playing each other once in a round-robin in both the Premiership and Championship. The significant increase has been met with mixed responses by the clubs, but the NW are under pressure from the governing body. It’s no secret that Ireland have been poor in T20 competition for a while now, reflected in their lowly world ranking.

The majority of matches will be played on Friday nights, so will hopefully give clubs a chance to increase revenue, while also giving some match practice for weekend games. The first set gets under way tomorrow (FRI) with Donemana hosting Bready, Coleraine entertaining Ballyspallen, Strabane are home to Brigade, while Glendermott take on Eglinton. There’s just one game in the Championship T20, as Newbuildings face Ardmore at FoyleView.

ROUND THE GROUNDS

Performance of the week went to Donemana II’s who routed Ardmore by 10 wickets after dismissing them for just 35 – Levi Dougherty (4), Sam Huey (3), Kyle Dougherty (2) and Ritchie McBrine (1) the successful bowlers.

Robert Spence scored a century as Bready II’s beat The Nedd, sharing a century stand with his brother Colin who made 53. Brooke Crumley claimed three wickets in an impressive win. Elsewhere in Q1, Fox Lodge beat Bonds Glen by four wickets while Eglinton defeated Brigade.

In Q2, Sion Mills had a welcome 65-run win over Killyclooney thanks to 51 from Mark Patterson and four wickets from Abdul Hannan. Karan Raina made 40 for Strabane II’s but they lost to Newbuildings II by seven wickets, while Paul McIlmoyle’s 39 helped Ballyspallen II’s beat Maghera.

In Q3, Bready IV’s overcame Eglinton with Ryan Clarke and Trevor Hamilton scoring 28, and Nathan McCombe taking three wickets in the 63-run victory.

NW WOMEN HISTORIC FIRST MATCH

There will be a small piece of history at Kesh this weekend as the NW Women’s side take on North Fermanagh in their first league game in the region. The initiative is an attempt to give the side some extra game time as they look to improve. The withdrawal of Drummond left a gap which has been now filled by the ladies.

The side is coached by Gary McDaid and Stephen McCartney and Saturday’s game is one of at least seven matches for the side.

Weekend Fixtures

NW Premiership (Saturday 1pm)
Eglinton v Bready
Ballyspallen v Donemana
Coleraine v Brigade
Glendermott v Strabane

Championship (Saturday 1pm)
Killyclooney v Fox Lodge
Ardmore v Bonds Glen
Burndennett v St Johnston

Qualifying One (Saturday 1pm)
Bready II v Eglinton II
Bonds Glen II v Ardmore II
Fox Lodge II v The Nedd
Donemana II v Brigade II

Qualifying Two (Saturday 1pm)
Bready III v Ballyspallen II
Killyclooney II v Coleraine II
Newbuildings II v St Johnston II
Sion Mills v Strabane II
Maghera v Glendermott II

Qualifying Three (Saturday 1pm)
North Fermanagh v NW Women’s XI
Donemana III v Fox Lodge III
Ardmore III v Killyclooney III (Sunday)