Underdogs Glendermott facing massive challenge
Ian Callender (Sunday Life)
GLENDERMOTT captain Gordon Montgomery admits his side will be “massive underdogs” going into this year’s North West Senior Cup final against Brigade at Eglinton.
The final, which starts on Friday morning, looks to be a formality for the runaway Premiership leaders, especially if the two league games between the teams are an accurate guide.
In the teams’ first meeting, Brigade piled up 391-6 - still the highest total of the season – and in the return, at Beechgrove, Glendermott were bowled out for 88, in itself a recovery having been 55-8. Indeed, some observers fear the traditional two-day showpiece may not even need a second day this year.
But Montgomery has an apposite recent example to give his side hope next weekend.
“Didn’t Ireland bowl out England for 85 in the Test match this week,” he said. Yes, Brigade are, by far, the best team in the league, but they can have bad days and while we’re massive underdogs, it’s a cup final against, our neighbours, so people should be up for it.”
Montgomery admits the club’s main objective at the start of the season, having gained promotion from the Championship, was to stay up and get a cup run.
“We’ve completed part one, our run to the final, so now for part two (which started with a home game against Bready yesterday). Our last two games are against (bottom of the table) Coleraine and Ballyspallen so it’s in our own hands.
It was Ballyspallen who Glendermott saw off in the semi-final, by a convincing seven wickets margin, thanks to four wickets from Sri Lankan professional Keeshan WIjerathne, who is “finding form just at the right time” and 46 from Bob Robinson who, along with Montgomery are the two survivors from the Rectory side’s last Senior Cup success, in 2005.
That game, was also at Eglinton – and Ballyspallen were the opposition – and as this year, they played every round up to the final at home.
“We have been fortunate to have been at The Rectory every round, but beating Bready in the first was a good win and if everyone plays to their potential, and with a bit of luck, you just never know,” adds the skipper.
And any team with the Cooke brothers, former internationals David and Gordon in it – and well into their 40s but as influential as ever - will never give up until well after the fat lady sings.
At the other end of the age scale, Ben Mills, who missed the semi-final as he was playing for the North West Warriors Under 17s in Belfast, will return for the final.
Brigade, though, have a 17-year-old of their own, Kyle Magee, who has already made the Warriors senior side and hit 107 in the quarter-final win at Donemana and 72 not out to see his the cup holders to a six wickets win over Ardmore in the semi-final.
With the evergreen Andy Britton still, arguably, the best new ball bowler in the North West, leading by example, it would be a greater upset than an Ireland Test win against England if he not lifting the Cup again this weekend.