It's back to 1996 when Bready beat Strabane to win the Senior Cup for the first time in their history having lost three times in the previous eight years to Donemana.

Club stalwart Trevor Hamilton remembers that the Magheramason club had to do it the hard way, with no gimmees en route to the decider.

"Sometimes the luck of the draw can help enroute to a Final but the path to the final had no easy matches, when we had to beat Glendermott, Limavady, and Sion Mills," began Hamilton (pictured below). 

"Limavady were in their prime winning the league that year, followed by the Irish Senior Cup the following year, plus Sion Mills had a team full of quality with the likes of Raymond Moan, John Browne, Lee McGonigle, Fergal O'Doherty, Shea Quinn, Nebby Scott, Jim McGranaghan, Raymond Quinn.

"The semi-final was a high scoring match at our Keery Road ground, when we posted close to 300, with Mark Olphert (pictured below) top scoring in the 80's. He then followed this up with five wickets to win the Man-of-the-Match award.

"For the final, I was supposed to have been laying on a sun lounger in Gran Canaria for two weeks on holidays with a group of mates, but after reaching the final, conversations were had and all passports were confiscated and no player was allowed out of the country until the second weekend in August.

"The saying was 'you'll have plenty of chances to go on holiday in the years ahead, but NW Senior Cup Finals don't come around too often'. Being one of the babies of the team, who was I to argue!!"

Tyrone neighbours Strabane stood in their way, but despite being tough opponents, Hamilton and Bready were just glad not to be facing their nemesis, Donemana.

"We had made the final on three other occasions (88, 89, 92), all were against Donemana and in all three we were behind the black ball after the first day. This final was to be new ground for us....no Donemana phew!

"Instead we were up against Strabane whom we've always had a friendly Tyrone derby rivalry with, with both sides packed with home grown players who had played regularly against each other since boys cricket.

"Our team that year was full of quality with six of the team having played representative cricket at NW Senior Inter Pro level or above and it was also full of characters who never knew when they were beat.

"Add to that our first overseas player-coach Alex Cilliers (pictured below), whose fast left arm pace was a handful for all and who was also dangerous with the bat, we knew we had a great chance to make history for the club."

"Going into the final it was a hard one to call and our aim on day one was to be in the game at the half way stage.

"This we were, thanks to 91 from Cilliers and 42 from Nipper (Alan Rutherford).... Although we were 1 run behind going into the 2nd innings, this was probably moral victory for us as we'd never been in this position before and we knew day 2 was a shoot out between both sides."

Cilliers and the battling Geoffrey McConnell gave little away in that second innings, taking a combined seven wickets and conceding just 65 runs in the 30 overs they bowled.

"Across the two days Geoff had bowled 31 overs for a miserly 66 runs and lead from the front. He was such a great competitor, and rarely gave anything away. A great man to have on your team. Restricting Strabane to 140 was huge achievement but it meant nothing if we didn't chase them down.

"Strabane didn't make it easy for us and it took half centuries from Brian Doherty (52) and Alex (52*) plus 22 not out from Nipper to get us over the line in the 49th over before history was made for the club and the huge support."

(winners Bready with the 1996 NW Senior Cup)

With the trophy secured, there was sure to be a party and the Magheramason side didn't disappoint, with even the normally tee-total Roly Black forsaking the pledge to drink the devil's buttermilk, or to be more exact Vat19 as Hamilton recalled.

"Celebrations were a bit of a blur, because VAT 19 was the teams choice of drink at the time, but I believe it was the one and only day Roly Black had a drink.

"The party continued well into the early hours back at the club and on the Sunday it continued on at Harkin's Bar Cloughcor, where the Cup did the rounds again - great memories."

Strabane 1st XI Vs Bready 1st XI
2-Innings Match Played At Beechgrove, 03-Aug-1996, Senior Cup
Bready 1st XI Win Outright by 8 wkts

Round F
Home Side (neutral)
Player of Match A Cilliers
Match Report here

Strabane 1st XI 1st Innings 220/8 Closed (Overs 60)

Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
J Gillespie c A Rutherford b A Cilliers 0 0 0 0
T Patton Jnr c A Rutherford b T Hamilton 24 0 0 0
P Gillespie c A Rutherford b R Black 34 0 0 0
Mark Gillespie c L Jack b M Olphert 15 0 0 0
A Proverbs c J Long b L Jack 63 0 0 0
Michael Gillespie c L Jack b R Black 16 0 0 0
K Finlay* c A Rutherford b G McConnell 33 0 0 0
P McNamee+ not out   23 0 0 0
M Deans run out   0 0 0 0
T Patton Snr not out   1 0 0 0
M Parkes dnb          
extras   (b0 lb10 w1 nb0) 11      
TOTAL   8 wickets for 220      
FOW

Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
A Cilliers 7 1 21 1 - -
G McConnell 16 1 36 1 - -
R Black 11 2 59 2 - -
T Hamilton 6 1 41 1 - -
M Olphert 10 1 21 1 - -
L Jack 10 1 32 1 - -

Bready 1st XI 1st Innings 219/8 Closed (Overs 60)

Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
M Olphert c P Gillespie b A Proverbs 0 0 0 0
B Doherty c M Deans b P Gillespie 22 0 0 0
A Cilliers c P McNamee b A Proverbs 91 0 0 0
L Jack   b P Gillespie 5 0 0 0
A Rutherford+ run out   42 0 0 0
D Lecky   b P Gillespie 18 0 0 0
G McConnell* run out   14 0 0 0
R Black   b A Proverbs 6 0 0 0
T Hamilton not out   1 0 0 0
J Long dnb          
G Curry dnb          
extras   (b0 lb14 w6 nb0) 20      
TOTAL   8 wickets for 219      
FOW

Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
T Patton Snr 10 0 31 0 - -
A Proverbs 16 3 40 3 - -
Mark Gillespie 10 0 31 0 - -
P Gillespie 12 3 54 3 - -
M Parkes 8 0 27 0 - -
M Deans 4 0 22 0 - -

Strabane 1st XI 2nd Innings 140/10 All Out (Overs 58)

Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
J Gillespie   b A Cilliers 1 0 0 0
T Patton Jnr   b A Cilliers 13 0 0 0
P Gillespie lbw b A Cilliers 14 0 0 0
Mark Gillespie   b R Black 15 0 0 0
A Proverbs c A Rutherford b R Black 4 0 0 0
Michael Gillespie run out   35 0 0 0
K Finlay* lbw b G McConnell 46 0 0 0
P McNamee+   b G McConnell 1 0 0 0
M Deans not out   5 0 0 0
T Patton Snr   b A Cilliers 0 0 0 0
M Parkes   b A Cilliers 0 0 0 0
extras   (b0 lb5 w1 nb0) 6      
TOTAL   10 wickets for 140      
FOW

Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
A Cilliers 15 3 30 5 - -
G McConnell 15 2 35 2 - -
R Black 9 2 17 2 - -
L Jack 10 0 21 0 - -
M Olphert 4 0 20 0 - -
T Hamilton 5 0 12 0 - -

Bready 1st XI 2nd Innings 143/2 Closed (Overs 48.1)

Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Bls 4s 6s
M Olphert lbw b T Patton Snr 5 0 0 0
B Doherty c K Finlay b M Parkes 52 0 0 0
A Cilliers not out   52 0 0 0
A Rutherford+ not out   23 0 0 0
L Jack dnb          
D Lecky dnb          
G McConnell* dnb          
R Black dnb          
T Hamilton dnb          
J Long dnb          
G Curry dnb          
extras   (b0 lb7 w4 nb0) 11      
TOTAL   2 wickets for 143      
FOW

Bowler Overs Maid Runs Wkts wd nb
A Proverbs 13 0 23 0 - -
T Patton Snr 12 1 31 1 - -
Mark Gillespie 6 0 19 0 - -
P Gillespie 5 0 17 0 - -
M Parkes 7 1 24 1 - -
Michael Gillespie 2 0 2 0 - -
M Deans 3 0 16 0 - -
K Finlay .1 0 4 0 - -