Britton defends follow-on decision
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
BRIGADE must wait until Saturday for a chance to claim their third trophy of the season after Eglinton defeated Bready yesterday to delay the Premiership celebrations.
Eglinton’s six wickets victory leaves the Beechgrove side, who claimed a facile 226 runs victory in the Senior Cup final on Saturday, needing a maximum of seven points from their final three league games so can clinch the trophy with a 12th straight victory at Donemana this weekend.
The cup final turned into a non-event following Andy Britton’s decision not to enforce the follow-on, but no-one in the Brigade camp cared a jot when the skipper lifted the trophy for the second year in a row on Saturday evening.
Britton was determined not to bat last in the two-day contest, so even with a lead of 166, and despite Glendermott having been bowled out for 139 in their first innings, the plan was always to add to their huge advantage.
“Just in case they got 250-300 in their second innings, that was the reason I didn’t ask them to bat again,” confirmed Britton. “I didn’t want to chase even 80 or 100, I just wanted to put the game to bed.”
Britton took advantage of the recently introduced declaration rule in the final, and pulled out after 42 overs of their second innings, setting Glendermott a notional 443 to win.
“I asked the umpires to tell me when there was half an hour left before lunch so we could get at them, “ added the skipper who was actually in the middle, 42 not out, at the time.
That plan worked as well as Glendermott went into lunch at 18-3 although it rendered the last 45 overs a total bore as the noisy neighbours on the Limavady Road were not going to hand them them an early finish.
“Gordon Cooke actually said to me ‘you batted again so we’ll keep you out for the whole 50 overs’. So I just asked the boys ‘who wants to bowl?," admitted Britton. "I stook at thirdman and long-on for an hour and a half and used to the spinners to get it over with.
Wicket-keeper Gareth McKeegan even took his pads off and bowled a couple of overs and the only reason all 11 didn’t bowl was because David Murdock had injured his groin when batting.
But the game had been won on the first day and Britton could look back on a job well done.
“Me and Johnny (Thompson) set it up with our hundred stand and then it was just a question of keeping the pressure on them,” said the captain. “We did so well that I didn’t even have to bowl JT or Ifti Hussain in the first innings and for the past six weeks they have taken most of the wickets.”