Brigade, Bready, Donemana and Glendermott win
A busy weekend of league and cup cricket got under way across the North West on Saturday and although there was plenty of rain around throughout the day, all games did manage to play through to a conclusion.
Brigade cemented their place at the top of the Premier Division with a 5-wicket DLS win at Eglinton on Saturday. In a match delayed by early rain the league leaders dismissed the home side for 125 with Ross Allen marking his return to the village venue with an excellent spell of bowling.
The spinner claimed 5 for 22 as Tommy Orr (37) and Stuart Thompson (27) fared best of the home team's batting. Ryan Macbeth also helped himself to 2-33 as Andy Britton's men assumed control of the contest early on.
Iftikhar Hussain made 33 and David Barr 30 at the top of Brigade's order as their response began brightly and although the villagers did pick up 5 wickets along the way, the visitors were never going to let this winning position slip.
Another shower later in the afternoon did halt their progress for just a short time, however the Beechgrove outfit were readily able to pass the revised DLS total of 123 in 48 overs comfortably enough.
Simon Dunn who has joined Eglinton from the now defunct Drummond in recent weeks was the best of Eglinton's bowling as he picked up 2-38.
Second-placed Donemana also registered a solid win as they proved six wickets too strong for Strabane up at the Park.
Once again runs were at a premium for the Red Caps with only Khushpal Purewal Singh (31 not out) and Aaron Gillespie (24) making much inroads in a modest total of 125 all out.
Gary McClintock bowled well for his 3-21 as did Jordan McGonigle (2-17), however the plaudits go to Sam Huey who chipped in with 3-26 on his senior debut.
Ricky-Lee Dougherty's 35 at the top of the Holm side's order gave them the perfect platform from which to launch their reply but on a day when spin was King, Ryan Gallagher (3-21) at least got Strabane into bonus point territory.
It was to be little else for the hosts however as Bilawal Iqbal made an unbeaten 53 to seal a comfortable win.
Bready kept the pressure on Donemana in second place after they won at Ballyspallen, however the reigning North West champions certainly didn't get things all their own way at the Bridge.
In fact for a large part of the afternoon it was the home side who looked likely to spring a surprise in this one. Jamie Millar bowled well at the head of their attack as he picked up 3 for 29 to allow 'Spallen to take a grip on proceedings early on.
The visitors' batsmen struggled to cope with both the bowling and the conditions and it took a superb 56 from Jamie Magee to help get them up over three figures.
Magee hit 7 fours and a 6 in his valuable knock, with Ross Dougherty's 14 the best of the rest in a final total of 111 all out.
Ballyspallen's five other bowlers used all picked up one wicket each to keep Bready at arms length.
Despite the small target however, the Magheramason side showed their champions quality by being able to keep the home side's batsmen at bay.
The reply had reached 38-1with Adam McDaid's men looking on course to cause a surprise before Bready skipper Davy Scanlon intervened. The Warriors bowler came up with an excellent spell of 5-19 to turn the match back their way; 'Sca' receiving good support from the rest of the attack, especially Gregory McFall who added 2-15.
From their promising position, the hosts lost their last 9 wickets for the addition of just 36 more runs. McDaid top scored with 24 whilst Andy Christie added 17 however the rest of the order couldn't get them over the line.
It was a telling win for Bready given that it allowed them to close to within one point of Donemana in second with a gap now starting to develop between the top three and the rest.
Game of the day was at Sandel Lodge where Glendermott, so often involved in really close games this season, finally came out on the right side of one.
A century stand for the 7th wicket between Steve Moore who made 60 and Gordon Cooke (35 not out) proved to be the difference between the teams in the final reckoning here.
Some excellent early bowling from Graham Hume (3-9 from his 8 overs) and Stephen Hutchinson (2-12) had reduced the visitors at one atage to 40-6 before Moore and Cooke turned it around.
Glendermott's final total of 164 for 9 from their 40 overs left them by no means out of sight, however it was a lot more than had looked like being the case for most of their innings.
Even so, when Coleraine had reached 139 for 4 in reply, the game looked up for the Rectory boys. Unfortunately for them however, as has been pointed out several times this season, the Bannsiders look very vulnerable in the lower order, and so it proved again.
Matthew Hutchinson top scored for his side with 42 while Patrick Carson added 25 and Scott Campbell 24, however the resistance dried up after that.
It's unfair to be critical of a team that is making a real effort to be self-sustainable at this level of course, however these are trying times on the north coast.
David Cooke picked up 3-22 whilst brother Gordon continued his good run of form adding 3-49 and Ryan Barr chipped in as well with 2-25 as the visitors closed in on a crucial victory.
Once they were among the bottom half, Glendermott always looked favourites and so it proved as they squeezed out a 6-run margin that lifted them off the bottom of the table.
There were only two games in the Championship- Ardmore losing their unbeaten league record when going down by just two runs (DLS) against Burndennett.
Overseas players Peet Pienaar and Salman Ahmed swapped centuries in the game, however the visitors just managed to hold out for a vital win.
There was a century too at Killyclooney where Andre Henry made 145 as the home side beat Bonds Glen by 115 runs. Darren Moan made 75 as the hosts posted 338-6 whilst Henry and Jordan Wallace also picked up four wickets apiece as the Bee Gees were all out for 223.