Cup placings decided
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
THE semi-finals of the North West (T20) Senior Cup will be played next Saturday and the games must be decided on the day with a bowl-out taking place if five overs of the second innings cannot be completed.
Holders Brigade, Donemana, Bready and Coleraine will learn their opponents today in an open draw with the first drawn in both games getting home advantage. The final, with the winners going through to All-Ireland T20 finals day, will be played on Saturday September 5 with the following day allocated as a reserve date.
There were no last day changes in positions in the four groups as just four of the seven scheduled games started — and only three completed.
Only Group 2 staged both matches and as expected, Brigade’s victory over Newbuildings last week was the decisive result, with both teams winning again on Saturday.
Rain threatened to interrupt Brigade’s chase in their game at Glendermott so David Murdock was promoted to number three and he did his job in some style, hitting 46 from just 17 balls, with four huge sixes.
They were only chasing 95, after skipper Andy Britton had wrapped up the Glendermott innings with four wickets for two runs, so a partnership of 75 in six overs with Ryan Hunter settled the contest. Murdock was dismissed four short of victory, but next over Brigade were home.
Scott Laird had Brigade worried for the first four overs, by which time he had smashed five sixes in a 15-ball 40, but he holed out to Ifti Hussain’s first ball and they went on to lose their last six wickets for eight runs.
Newbuildings’ seven-wicket victory was even more impressive as they were set 180 for victory in a 16-over match against St Johnston. An opening stand of 110 in seven overs between skipper Gareth McKeegan (63) and Mark Hanna (45) made light of their task and although both were dismissed in the space of four runs, Johnny Thompson (30 not out) and Ross Dougherty (21) almost finished the job.
Ireland Under-15 international Scott Macbeth batted through the Saints innings for 54 not out, sharing stands of 63 with his captain, Michael Rankin (45) and 59 with David Lapsley.
Only eight overs were possible at Donemana which was not enough for Killyclooney to repeat their victory 11 days earlier over the T20 holders.
The visitors got off to the worst possible start, losing two wickets in the first over, bowled by Andy McBrine, and they were 59-5 when a deluge hit The Holm, ensuring the teams could not return and Donemana remained top of the group.
Bready were confirmed as winners of Group 3 once their game against only remaining challengers Fox Lodge was abandoned without a ball bowled, while the final game in Group 1, between Coleraine and Eglinton, went the same way, although the Bannsiders had already secured their place in the Senior Cup.
The first, and only other, game to start on Saturday was the clash between the third and fourth place teams in Group 3 and it went to form with Burndennett beating the Red Caps by 108 runs.
The home side piled up 176-5 in their 18 overs with former international Gary Neely top scoring with 58 from 33 balls with six sixes, and in real-end-of season fare, only two Strabane batsmen reached double figures as they were bowled out in 15 overs, losing their last six wickets for five runs, three of them to Neely.
It promises to be a competitive battle for the Faughan Valley Cup between the group runners-up, Eglinton, Newbuildings, Fox Lodge and Killyclooney. The semi-finals are also on Saturday with the final two weeks later.
The third place teams — Ballyspallen, St Johnston, Burndennett and Bonds Glen — will contest the Sam Jeffrey Shield semi-finals with the final on Saturday week, while Glendermott, with the best record of the three teams that finished fourth in their group, go straight through to the Eric Cooke final on September 12 against the winners of Saturday’s semi-final between Strabane and Ardmore.
Assuming there is no more weather interference this Saturday, Ardmore will be playing only their third match of the season, after no results in four of their six group games — two more than any of the other teams — the latest on Saturday away to Bonds Glen.