Brigade and Glendermott seek Holy Grail
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
THE Senior Cup final remains the holy grail for teams in the North West. As Andy Britton puts it, “the best team wins the league, but everyone wants to win the cup”.
The Brigade captain plays his seventh final this weekend against Glendermott at Eglinton (12 noon start today) and his mission at the start of the season is always to play in the two-day showpiece. For the second year in a row he has achieved his wish, and he is already thinking about lifting the trophy again tomorrow.
The only way that is not going to happen would appear to be complacency because this season the Beechgrove side have been the outstanding team in the North West, winning all 11 league games and easing through all three rounds of the Senior Cup.
The two games against Glendermott, have been among the biggest wins of the season, by 277 runs at The Rectory and by 10 wickets in the return.
We are a much more balanced team this year,” says Britton. “Everyone knows their role in the side, we have no passengers. It’s a confident team, everyone’s buzzing and enjoying each other’s company.
“It’s a case of so far so good this season but things can change. So we will go into the final thinking we are playing Donemana and will treat Glendermott with respect.”
Last season, Brigade missed out on the league title to Bready mainly because of a number of top order collapses but this season the top four have all scored centuries and Andy Britton, who had to come in at No 7 or eight and rescue the team last year has not even had to bat in around half the games.
Opener David Barr leads from the front and has already topped 600 runs, and with Gareth McKeegan gives them consistently good starts. Ifti Hussain is still churning out the runs and 17-year old Kyle Magee, batting at No 4, has come of age this year with 107 against Donemana and 72 not out to see them home in the semi-final against Ardmore.
Britton and Ryan MacBeth are a potent combination with the new ball, Johnny Robinson is the leading wicket-taker with 40 and backed up in the spin department by Ross Allen and Hussain, while more all-rounders in Rachit Gaur and Johnny Thompson gives Britton seven first-choice options with the ball.
Glendermott’s most impressive performance was in the first round against Bready when skipper Gordon Mongomery and evergreen David Cooke both made big 50s and Alan Johnson took four wickets in a 76 runs victory.
Professional Keeshan Wijerathne, in Britton’s words, “can rip apart any attack”, but the captain knows that even if Brigade fail once, it will have to happen twice if he is not to achieve his ambition for the second year in a row.
Brigade: A Britton (capt), D Barr, G McKeegan, I Hussain, K Magee, J Thompson, D Murdock, J Robinson, R Gaur, R Allen, R MacBeth
Glendermott: G Montgomery (capt), R Robinson, J Lynch, D Cooke, A Johnson, K Wijerathne, R Laird, R Barr, S Moore, G Cooke, S Laird, B Mills.