Race to reach NW semi-finals hots up
EGLINTON claimed their first win of the season yesterday to leave Ballyspallen stranded at the bottom of Group 1 in the T20 Championship at the halfway stage.
But only the group winners will contest the semi-finals of the Senior Cup and Coleraine need only to avoid defeat against Eglinton next Saturday to be the first team through from the only three-team group.
After restricting Ballyspallen to 95-4, Eglinton lost both openers for 35 but Jamie Millar eased Eglinton to victory with a full five overs in hand with an unbeaten 48 off 34 balls, with four fours and three sixes.
Coleraine had their biggest scare of the season on Saturday when they crashed to 16-5 at Ballyspallen with three wickets for Graham Kennedy and two for brother Stuart. The third member of the family, Stephen would take the sixth wicket but not before Graham Hume had hit a run-a-ball 50, including four sixes to give the Bannsiders a total of 108 to defend.
With Hume then bowling three overs for three runs, Ballyspallen never got going and when the rain arrived after six overs – one more than necessary to bring a DLS calculation into action – the home side had struggled to 11-0 and an 18 runs loss.
It is much closer in Group 2 where only one point separates Newbuildings and Brigade with their clash at Beechgrove on Saturday week likely to decide the section winners.
Newbuildings posted a massive 178-4 at St Johnston with former Brigade stars Gareth McKeegan and Johnny Thompson in big-hitting form.
Captain McKeegan hit five fours and four sixes in his 65 while Thompson had four fours and four sixes in his 51. Thompson then took the first five wickets of the Saints’ innings for just 15 runs and there was no way back from 28-5, with Ramees Machingal putting up the lone resistance to finish 38 not out.
Brigade dropped a point by losing two wickets batting second against neighbours Glendermott. Ross Allen and Ryan Macbeth each took three wickets for the home side, from whom only three players reached double figures but Brigade were in too much of a hurry, despite chasing only 89 for victory. Ryan Hunter hit five fours and a six in his 28 and Kyle Magee was leg before for 22 before Davy Barr with a more cautious 27 not out finished the game in the 14th over.
In Group 3, Bready lost six wickets chasing just 90 in an 18-over game and won with only two balls to spare, Ross Campbell hitting a six to win the match. Johnny Robinson was the game's top scorer with 25 for Fox Lodge. With the other game, between Strabane and Burndennett rained off, Bready’s win was enough to give them a 18-points lead over the Foxes.
There was no action in Group D with Ardmore’s game against Bonds Glen abandoned but Donemana, already out in front with two wins, can rearrange their game at Killyclooney because it was postponed due to the death of Dwayne McGerrigle’s father.
And from next weekend, Ireland international Andy McBrine will also be available for the T20 holders who remain big favourites to reach the semi-finals.
Yesterday’s scores: Ballyspallen 95-4 (J Thompson 33) Eglinton 97-2 (15 overs, J Millar 48 not out). Eglinton (24 pts) beat Ballyspallen (1 pt) by 8 wickets.