Mixed bag for NW Championship sides
Once again it was very much a "mixed bag" weekend for North West Championship clubs as second round ties in both the RSA National Cup and the Ulster Shield took centre stage over the two days.
Things started poorly on Saturday with the only two North West sides to have avoided the first round cull in the RSA National Cup, St Johnston and Killyclooney both failing to progress to Round 3. The Saints went into their match at home to Cliftonville brimming with confidence having assumed outright leadership of the Championship table on Wednesday night last following their win at Creevedonnell.
Having won the toss and elected to bat on a scorching day Alan MacBeth's side looked set fair to dictate the pace of the game however their batting was to let them down badly. Only Michael Rankin with 24 and the skipper with 20 even managed to get starts as a combination of slow bowling and excellent catching gave the visitors an early advantage.
Davy Menaul with 3-28 and a brace each for Andy McCullough and Colin Davidson did the damage as the Saints struggled and a final total of 105 all out looked woefully short of par. To their credit the home side fought back when it came their turn with the ball and again the slow stuff was proving potent- Andrew Fleming in particular being given the respect of a man who was bowling hand grenades.
The Saints all rounder finished with figures of 4 for 23 however neither he nor his team mates were able to get rid of the visitors' Davy Munn who anchored the reply. At 74 for 6 the game was still in the balance however Munn remained defiant to the end- 11 fours in his unbeaten 63 that steered the Chimney Corner based team to a 4-wicket win.
Killyclooney went into their match at home to Laurelvale at the other end of the spectrum, Sammy McElhatton's men yet to record a domestic win this season but there was no sign of them feeling sorry for themselves here. Craig Irwin led the charge for the visitors as they took first use, Irwin smacking 17 fours and 6 sixes on his way to 123 and he received good support from Gary Murphy who made 52.
That allowed the NCU team to post a daunting 308 for 9 in their 50 overs as Keith Stevenson weighed in with 5-38 and skipper McElhatton added 3-50 for Killyclooney.
The target always looked a long way off for the North West outfit but a defiant 42-ball 63 from Mark Gordon kept them interested. Richard McMorris (32), Geoff McDonald (29) and a couple of 20's from Alan Colhoun and Timothy Dougherty helped the cause but in the end it wasn't to be enough to chase down the big total. Robert Wilson was the pick of the Laurelvale bowlers with 3-52 and he was backed up by Hughes and Pearson who claimed 2 apiece as Killyclooney were eventually bowled out for 244.
Things were a little brighter on Sunday when two of the three remaining combatants in the Ulster Shield won their way through to the semi final stage. Newbuildings lost at Woodvale however both Bonds Glen and St Johnston fared better and posted very comfortable wins. The Saints were much more positive with the bat against Dundrum that against Cliftonville on Saturday, the three MacBeth brothers combining to help the Donegal side to 245 for 8 in their 40 overs.
Skipper Alan lead the way with 73 that included 9 fours while David (47) and Ian (35 not out) gave the finish real impetus. Jeff Maguire (3-45), Rahi Kakade (2-31) and Gavin McNerlin (2-46) did best for a very under-strength Dundrum although the NCU lads were intent on enjoying their trip regardless. Mark Yeates with 37 not out, Adam Symington (37) and Alan Tormey (22) fared best with the bat for them and their very young tail enders didn't disappoint either as they closed on 161 all out- 3 wickets each for Ethan Lapsley and Rammohan Goud in the Donegal side's win.
Bonds Glen made sure that Cliftonville's second trip over the Glenshane in as many days had no happy ending this time as Gihan Dilruk dominated events here. Jordan Hope with an unbeaten 51 and 45 from Sean Fitzgibbon were easily the best of the visitors' batting in their 181 for 7; Bonds Glen's overseas man picking up 4-17 in a commanding display. The Sri Lankan then swapped ball for bat and blasted 10 fours and 6 sixes in an unbeaten 89 as the Bee Gees took control. David Robinson with an unbeaten 39 kept Dilruk company for the last few laps but the home side had this tie in safe keeping a long way out.
There was one league game on Sunday, Ardmore hosting Burndennett in a re-arranged contest and Lee Brolly's side got their promotion push back on track with a solid 81-run win. Star for the hosts was Andrew Riddles who continued his superb start to the season with a century that included 15 fours and a six. Paul Brolly added a valuable 35 as Ardmore made 250 for 9, Mark Roulston claiming 4 wickets for the visitors and Aidan Boyle and Stephen McCay two apiece.
Skipper Mark Doherty gave his side a chance with 49 at the start of the reply but only Mark Roulston with 26 could find much in the way of support. Craig Hartin has been picking up very valuable wickets for his new side and was on target with 4 more here while Riddles, Conor Brolly and George Brolly added 2 each in a very valuable win for Ardmore.
RSA NATIONAL CUP SECOND ROUND SUMMARY
St Johnston v Cliftonville
St Johnston 105 all out (32.3 overs, M Rankin 24, A MacBeth 20, D Menaul 3-28, A McCullough 2-23, C Davidson 2-24). Cliftonville 106-6 (28 overs, D Munn 63 not out, A Fleming 4-23)
Cliftonville won by 4 wickets
Killyclooney v Laurelvale
Laurelvale 308-9 (50 overs, C Irwin 123, G Murphy 52, D Sinton 25, R Wilson 24, M Burns 22*, K Stevenson 5-38, S McElhatton 3-50). Killyclooney 244 all out (45.5 overs, M Gordon 63, R McMorris 32, G McDonnell 29, A Colhoun 20, T Dougherty 20, R Wilson 3-52, S Pearson 2-28, S Hughes 2-51).
Laurelvale won by 64 runs
Bonds Glen v Cliftonville
Cliftonville 181-7 (40 overs; J Hope 51*, S Fitzgibbon 45, C Davidson 23, G Dilruk 4-17), Bonds Glen 183-3 (23.3 overs; G Dilruk 89*, D Robinson 39*, R Robinson 33)
Bonds Glen won by 7 wickets
St Johnston v Dundrum
St Johnston 245-8 (40 overs; A MacBeth 73, D MacBeth 47, I MacBeth 35*, J Maguire 3-45, R Kakade 2-31, G McNerlin 2-46), Dundrum 161 all out (36.3 overs; M Yeates 37*, A Symington 37, A Tormey 22, E Lapsley 3-34, R Goud 3-39)
St Johnston won by 84 runs
SEMI FINAL DRAW- St Johnston v Muckamore; Woodvale v Bonds Glen.
Ardmore v Burndennett
Ardmore 250-9 (50 overs; A Riddles 101, P Brolly 35, M Roulston 4-37, A Boyle 2-38, S McCay 2-40), Burndennett 169 all out (41.2 overs; M Doherty 49, M Roulston 26, C Hartin 4-25, A Riddles 2-17, Geo Brolly 2-35; C Brolly 2-51)
Ardmore won by 81 runs