The talk pre-season was that this would be the year of the youth, but it was veteran batsman David Cooke who stole the show as the first senior match in Northern Ireland saw Coleraine hammer Ballyspallen.

The former Irish international turned 48 last week, and he showed all his experience as he rescued the Bannsiders from a disastrous start as they slumped to 21 for 4 in the 7th over.

(Coleraine's David Cooke top scored with an unbeaten 75)

Niall McDonnell's return to cricket didn't last long - bowled by Graham Kennedy without scoring on the first over, and Scott Campbell quickly followed.

Cooke was then involved in two run outs with Graham Hume (2) and Rishi Chopra (1) as Coleraine appeared in deep trouble.

However he atoned with a fine unbeaten 75, finding the boundary on 10 occasions as he and Matthew Hutchinson (32*) shared an unbroken fifth wicket stand of 93 as Coleraine finished on 114 for 4.

The 'Spallen reply never got out of first gear as they limped to 43 all out with seven balls unused.

Skipper Andy Christie top scored with 12, while Stephen Kennedy was the only other batsman to reach double figures.

Gareth Burns picked up two wickets against his old club, one of which was the vital wicket of Graham Kennedy thanks to a stunning catch by Stephen Hutchinson.

Scott Campbell and Varun Chopra also claimed a brace apiece, while Graham Hume, Stephen Hutchinson, and debutant Alan Whitcroft (signed from Armagh) took a wicket each.

On this form Coleraine will be a tough proposition for any side, and it should be quite a contest as they face Eglinton tomorrow (SAT 2pm)

SCOREBOARD

At Sandel Lodge,
Coleraine (25pts) beat Ballyspallen (0 pts) by 71 runs

COLERAINE
N McDonnell b G Kennedy 0
S Campbell c Corscadden b Stu Kennedy 2
D Cooke not out 75
G Hume run out 2
R Chopra run out 1
M Hutchinson not out 32
Extras 2
Total (4 wkts, 20 overs) 114

Did Not Bat: V Chopra, S Hutchinson, G Burns, A Whitcroft, P Carson.

Fall: 1-0 2-12 3-20 4-21

Bowling: G Kennnedy 4-0-19-1; Stu Kennedy 4-0-14-1; J Thompson 4-0-26-0;
D Corscadden 4-0-20-0; Ste Kennedy 2-0-20-0; J Wilson 2-0-16-0.

BALLYSPALLEN
A Christie c M Hutchinson b Whitcroft 12
Z Guy c Cooke b Hume 0
L Gilfillan b S Hutchinson 0
G Kennedy c S Hutchinson b Burns 9
Ste Kennedy c&b Campbell 10
J Thompson b Burns 1
Stu Kennedy run out 4
J Wilson 1
M O'Brien c McDonnell b Campbell 0
D Corscadden b V Chopra 0
G Thompson b V Chopra 0
Extras 5
Total (all out, 18.5 overs) 43

Fall: 1-1 2-4 3-19 4-28 5-30 6-39 7-42 8-43 9-43 10-43

Bowling: G Hume 3-1-4-1; S Hutchinson 3-1-9-1; G Burns 4-0-11-2;
A Whitcroft 4-0-9-1; R Chopra 2-1-4-0; S Campbell 2-0-2-2; V Chopra 0.5-0-1-2