Brigade stay on course for the treble
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
BRIGADE are back in the North West Senior Cup final and next month they will play Glendermott in the popular two-day showdown at Eglinton.
The holders eased past Ardmore by six wickets at the Bleachgreen while Glendermott had seven wickets to spare after bowling out fellow Premier League new boys Ballyspallen for 93.
The decisive moment at Ardmore came early with the Ifti Hussain dismissing Ryan Brolly and Decker Curry in the space of eight balls to reduce the home side to 79-4 and despite Ciaran Curley scoring a 40-ball half-century, which included four sixes, Ardmore were bowled out with five balls unused for 193.
Brigade started cautiously and although they had lost both skipper Gareth McKeegan and Hussain by the start of the 12th over, with just 30 runs on the board, there was never any panic. At halfway, David Barr and young Kyle Magee had patiently led the recovery, taking them to 65-2, but 34 runs came off the next six overs and even the loss of Barr, immediately after bringing up his 50 from 96 balls – a third wicket for Connor Brolly - proved only a hiccup.
Johnny Thompson followed four overs later, for eight but Magee, a young head on old shoulders, was happy to let David Murdoch do all the big hitting. The Brigade No 6 hit four sixes and two fours in a whirlwind 41 from just 20 balls and it was all over with six overs to spare – and Ross Allen and skipper Andy Britton not even required.
Hussain had rendered the Ardmore batsmen virtually strokeless in an accurate 10-over spell. Introduced in the 18th over, Ryan Brolly hit his fifth ball to the boundary but conceded only four singles in his remaining 55 deliveries, with the wicket of Curry – who had scored 86 in the Championship victory on Saturday – still the prize scalp.
Thompson took two wickets with his final two deliveries to end as the most successful bowler but this was Hussain’s and Brigade’s day.
They will start huge favourites in the final against their Limavady Road neighbours but Glendermott deserve their place in the decider for the first time since 2007 after maintaining their stranglehold over Ballyspallen.
They finished above them in the Championship last season and last week in the league game, at The Rectory, it was the batsmen who piled up 297-5. Yesterday the bowlers took control in a semi-final which lasted less than 50 overs after the visitors slumped to 9-4.
Keshan Wijerathne and Reece Laird shared those wickets, the last one the big one of Ballyspallen professional Brendon Louw, caught off his fourth ball by Ryan Barr.
Wijerathne returned to finish with four wickets and Glendermott wasted no time in knocking off the runs. Robert Robinson hit 10 boundaries in his quickfire 46 and although he was out three short of the finish line, the home fans were soon celebrating.