FOXES LEFT TO FLY THE FLAG AS GLENDERMOTT AND COLERAINE EDGED OUT

There was plenty of entertainment for the North West's cricket followers on Saturday with two Irish Senior Cup quarter finals as well as crunch games at both ends of the Billy Henderson Properties League Division 1. The all-Ireland dream ended for Glendermott as they were outpointed by Fox Lodge in a thrilling contest at the Rectory whilst Coleraine came up just short in their clash with Railway Union.

The must see game however was at Bonds Street where this season's success story, Fox Lodge were attempting to maintain their magnificent record thus far. Already joint top of the table and in the final of the Faughan Valley Cup, Brian Allen's side has acquired a real winning mentality and came into this one in buoyant mood.

Testament to that confidence was the fact that the skipper had invited his opposite number to have a bat within a split second of his correct call of the toss, the Foxes' captain obviously having agreed with his team-mates that they would prefer to chase than to set. Glendermott were actually more than happy to oblige and David Barr and Craig Averill gave them a solid platform with a 59-run partnership.

The former was first out for 29 before Hanke von Rauenstein and Stephen Smyth weighed in with 24 and 23 however Glendermott never really got away from the visitors. Averill anchored the innings however and hit 11 fours and a six in making an excellent 95 but was out attempting to reverse sweep Andy Britton. Skipper Montgomery made a very valuable 47 containing 4 fours and 3 sixes to help the hosts post a competitive 277 all out. Britton finished with 4 wickets albeit at a cost of 80 runs while Darryl Brown with two and Andy McGinnis were the other successful bowlers.

The Foxes top order wobbled a little in reply, Jason Milligan, Dean McCarter and skipper Allen all getting starts but it took an 84-run partnership between professional Darryl Brown and Johnny Robinson to put them back on course. Brown hit 8 fours and a six in making 68, however when the rain came late in the evening Glendermott were still ahead on Duckworth Lewis. That all changed when Mark Mooney made a quickfire 28 and Robinson upped the ante as well, allowing Fox Lodge to carve out what was a good win in the end. All rounder Robinson was unbeaten on 98, a brilliant effort including 9 fours and 6 sixes as the league leaders' season shows little sign of slowing.

Down the coast Coleraine took their leave of the tournament despite putting up an excellent performance against crack Leinster side Railway Union. The Dubliners were without Irish Internationals Trent Johnston and Kevin O'Brien but still travelled north with a very strong side.

They were indebted to a 150-run third wicket partnership between Conor Mullen and Tom Fisher after an opening burst from Stephen Dunn had reduced them to 9 for 2 as they recovered to 239 all out. Mullen hit 6 fours and 2 sixes on his way to 82 and Fisher added a composed 66 whilst Dunn with 4 for 49, Mohammed Salman with 3 for 29 and Geoff Lockhart, 2 for 42 did best with the ball.

Heavy rain in mid-afternoon meant that the umpires were asked to set a reassessed total and when everything was counted the Bannsiders were asked to make 213 in 41 overs if they were to make the last four. They too lost early wickets before Tim Chopra and Mohammed Salman again joined forces to put them back in contention.

Both players batted sensibly but neither was able to find the extra yard to turn theirs into a match-winning score. Chopra's 69 was Coleraine's best effort with Salman making 41 and Ian McGregor chipping in with 25 however the home side just seemed slightly behind most of the way through. Kenny Carroll's 3 for 39 was the pick of the visitors' attack and included the wickets of both Salman and Chopra as Railway were 20 runs clear in the final reckoning.