Brigade too strong for Glendermott
Ian Callender (Sunday Life)
BRIGADE captain Andy Britton lifted the North West Senior Cup for the second year in a row but it was a turgid, one-sided final which did nothing for the two-day showpiece.
Britton’s decision not to enforce the follow-on Friday evening, despite the hot favourites having a first innings lead of 166 and another 90 minutes batting available, turned yesterday’s play into a formality with only the margin of victory in doubt.
Brigade extended their lead to a massive 442 but they had to wait as Glendermott batted the entire 50 overs second time around, losing only seven wickets while scoring 216 runs.
Gordon Cooke, who made the first of his 66 appearances for Ireland in 1994, delayed the Brigade celebrations with an unbeaten 74, from No 7 in the order, hitting 12 boundaries in his 102-ball innings.
Cooke shared a unbroken eighth wicket stand of 75 with Ryan Barr as Britton used 10 bowlers with Gareth McKeegan even taking the wicket-keeping pads off to bowl two overs.
The serious cricket had all taken place on the first day when Brigade recovered from 135-5 to finish on 305-8 with Johnny Thompson and Andy Britton putting on 110 in 11 and a half overs. Britton and Ryan McBeth then reduced the noisy Limavady Road neighbours to 42-4 and Rachit Gaur, Ross Allen and Johnny Robinson finished the job in only the 33rd over.
But with everyone expecting Glendermott to be invited to bat again, Brigade decided the prolong the action and give his batsmen a second chance to bat in a cup final.
Allen, 20 not out at No 9 in the first innings, was promoted to open with David Barr but neither survived the 19 overs before the light faded.
Yesterday, Ifti Hussain, Kyle Magee and Thompson all got into the 40s but then got out while Britton was 42 not out from just 17 balls, with four sixes, when the captain declared 20 minutes before lunch, satisfied that a total of almost 450 was enough to defend.
Steven Moore enjoyed himself with the ball for Glendermott, taking the last four wickets to give him five for the innings and seven in the match but Cooke, still one of their best bowlers, was bothered to bowl only three overs in the second innings as the lead increased exponentially.
Facing such a daunting total, it looked as if Glendermott would be lambs to the slaughter as they went to lunch on 18-3 after 3.1 overs, with skipper Gordon Montgomery out first ball, Robert Robinson run out and Scott Laird dismissed to the last ball before the break.
When play resumed, 45 minutes late because of rain, professional Keshan Wijerathne lasted just seven balls, but Alan Johnson produced an entertaining 36, with five fours and six, before the Cooke brothers decided it was time to frustrate the holders.
David Cooke played out 75 balls for his 26 and Cooke and Barr were then able to take advantage of the second string bowlers, McKeegan’s 13 deliveries including a head-high no-ball!
But all that mattered in the end was that Brigade are still the Senior Cup holders.