While it was another bleak day for NW sides in the Irish Senior Cup, there was better news for local teams in the National Cup with five teams making it through to the last 16. Among them were Fox Lodge and Strabane, who both recorded convincing wins. Fox Lodge were easy 161-run winners at Ballymena with Sri Lankan professional Gayan Maneeshan and Jason Milligan both making half centuries. Maneeshan top scored with 90 from 96 balls (8 fours, 1 six) adding 114 with Milligan, who hit 8 fours in his 65.

“Saturday was a complete performance from start to finish,” Milligan told the Chronicle. “Winning the toss and deciding to bat first we knew that we had to bat the overs and back ourselves with the bowling attack we have to defend it. We got off to a great start Adam Walker promoted up the order to opening the batting done really well and got us off to a solid start. Then myself and Gayan managed to put together a good partnership and set what we knew was going to be a really competitive total as the pitch was quite two-paced.

“It was then over to our bowlers who from ball one, were really on it. We kept taking wickets at vital times and thankfully for us Ballymena couldn’t get any momentum. It was nice to get a good win and we will back ourselves on our day to compete with anyone.

“A special mention to Gayan, as it was a superb innings, and unfortunate not to get his hundred but it’s not far away if he continues to play like this. His coaching off the pitch to the team and youth is showing great signs, and he’s brilliant to have around the club.”

Milligan is a real all-rounder and during the off-season played football with Donemana in the NW Premier League, where they narrowly missed out on silverware to Ardmore.

“I had a busy football season with Donemana, where we reached the cup final, but unfortunately it didn’t go our way but was a great experience with great support. We came close but it just wasn’t to be on the night.”

Hopefully Milligan will have greater luck on the cricket field, and on this form he and his team mates might just go all the way in the Irish National Cup.