The best Barr none as Strabane gain vital win
THE BEST BARR NONE AS STRABANE GAIN VITAL WIN
Strabane recorded their first win in this season's Premier Division on Saturday when edging out Glendermott by a single run in a real thriller at the Rectory.
It was one of just two games completed in the North West senior leagues at the weekend, but these were certainly vital points for Peter Gillespie's team.
The majority of the plaudits will go to Chathura Peiris who scored a magnificent 123 not out, however when the going got tough later in the day, Strabane bowlers were up to the mark.
Ryan Gallagher bowled very well to concede just 14 runs from his 7 overs but with Glendermott well placed heading into the last over of the match, Gillespie threw the ball to Tommy Barr.
The former club captain had 12 runs to play with but took the sting out of the finish early in the over by conceding just 5 runs from the first 5 deliveries.
David Cooke hit the last one for 6, however it was irrelevant in terms of the outcome as Strabane edged home by the narrowest possible margin.
This wasn't the first time that Barr had been a thorn in Glendermott's side either; in 2013 he rescued the Red Caps from a seemingly impossible position at the same venue.
On that occasion the home side needed just one run to win in the final over, but the Strabane spinner took 3 wickets and conceded nothing to force what looked a near impossible draw.
Speaking after Saturday's win, Tommy laughed off the suggestion that it was a ground on which he enjoyed bowling.
"It's a belter of a track with short boundaries so I definitely wouldn't go that far!"
"I just think that those circumstances bring out the challenge in you as a bowler and thankfully it has worked for me a few times."
"It was a fantastic game to play in and full credit to both teams and the umpires for getting the game in. It's a long time since I played in one as enjoyable as that but hopefully we can kick on now."
"We showed the fight that we needed on Saturday and that's maybe what we were missing in the first couple of games."
Donemana were the day's other big winners as they extended their lead at the top of the division with a comfortable victory away at Ballyspallen.
UP FOR THE CUP
This coming Saturday sees the start of the All-Ireland Senior Cup with only two of the three Tyrone Premiership sides in action on the opening weekend.
Former winners Donemana are on their travels to Comber were they will tackle one of the NCU big guns, North Down.
It's a tough tie for the the Holm side although they will travel full of confidence following their unbeaten start to the domestic campaign.
Skipper Andrew Riddles was certainly upbeat ahead of the fixture and said this competition was right at the top of the club's wish list.
"We never really need much of a team talk for big games and this is certainly one of those. Donemana have a big reputation when it comes to cup cricket and I know for me personally, this one is at the top."
'We haven't won it since 2000 and we're a better team than that."
"Fair enough we keep getting really tough first round draws with the likes of Merrion and Clontarf in the last few seasons and now North Down in Comber. You look at Strabane last year however and see if you can get past that, you just never know how far you can go."
"On our day we're as good as most of these teams so if we're on top of our game we have a live chance."
Bready entertain Lisburn in one of the most difficult first round ties to unravel. This one could see brothers David and Robert Rankin come face-to-face, although it's not the first time the teams have met in Inter-Union competition.
The only team guaranteed to be in the hat for Round 2 are Strabane- the Park side having been handed a bye in the opening exchanges.
Fox Lodge are another side to benefit from a bye, this time in the National Cup, while Burndennett have been forced to sit out the competition this time following their failure to fulfil a fixture in 2018.
Eddie McGettigan's team won't let their Saturday go to waste however, they will play both St Johnston (12:00) and then Fox Lodge (4 p.m) in the Eric Cooke T20 cup competition instead.
PRIZE ON OFFER FOR QUICKEST 50
The North West Cricket Union has this week announced a bonus prize for the player to score the season's fastest 50. a voucher for £500 will be presented to the winner with the only proviso being that the match is "live scored" on the App.
The award is open to all leagues (men and women) and all formats and should certainly bring a bit of competition as the summer progresses.
William Porterfield, Boyd Rankin and Andy McBrine were all to the fore on Sunday as Ireland beat Afghanistan by 72 runs at Stormont.
Porterfield made a timely half-century as Ireland posted 210 after having been put into bat, while Rankin claimed 3 for 40 to restrict the visitors in their chase.
Whilst McBrine was not among the wicket takers, the Donemana all-rounder bowled his 10 overs conceding just 17 runs; a spell that put Ireland firmly in the driving seat.
The North West Warriors were hopeful that all three would be available for the start of the domestic Interprovincial series which kicks off with today's (Thursday) game against Leinster Lightning at Bready.
Porterfield will not be risked in today's game as his workload is managed following recent injury and has been withdrawn by Cricket Ireland.
The Warriors game gets under way at 10.45 and as usual, admission is free.
NW T20 Faughan Valley Cup (Friday 6.30pm)
Glendermott v Coleraine
Strabane v Bready
NW Championship Eric Cooke T20
Fox Lodge v St Johnston (Fri 6.30pm)
Burndennett v St Johnston (Sat 1pm)
Burndennett v Fox Lodge (Sat 4pm)
Irish Senior Cup (Saturday 12.30pm)
Bready v Lisburn
Coleraine v CSNI
Glendermott v Rush
North Down v Donemana
Pembroke v Brigade
Phoenix v Eglinton
The Hills v Ballyspallen
Irish National Cup
Ballymena v Bonds Glen
County Sligo v Ardmore
Killyclooney v Ballyhaunis
North Kildare v Newbuildings
The Nedd v Templepatrick
Qualifying Two (Saturday 1pm)
Ballyspallen II v Coleraine II (Wed 6.30pm)
Maghera v Sion Mills
St Johnston II v Strabane II
Glendermott II v Bready III (Sunday 1pm)
St Johnston II v Killyclooney II (Sunday 1pm)
Qualifying Three (Saturday 1pm)
North Fermanagh v Fox Lodge III
Fox Lodge III v Bready IV (Sunday 1pm)
Ardmore III v NW Women’s XI (Sunday 1pm)
Women’s League (Mon 6.30pm)
Fox Lodge v Killyclooney
Burndennett v Eglinton
Newbuildings v Strabane