Brigade and Newbuildings to contest Sports Hub senior final

There were to be no major surprises in Sunday’s cup semi-finals as Brigade and Newbuildings saw off Eglinton and Fox Lodge respectively to reach this year’s senior cup final, while Bready and Coleraine will fight out the Sam Jeffrey Shield decider. 

Rain played a frustrating part in all four semi-finals on a day when batting second did nobody any harm.

The repeat of last year’s final between the Foxes and Newbuildings began promisingly as the hosts went on the attack straight away with Jason Milligan and TJ Nicholl taking 38 from the first 5 overs.

Nicholl was first to go when Johnny Thompson, in his retirement season, had him caught at the second attempt by Hanu Viljoen in the deep.

Aidan Logue came and went but the game was to turn in the 16th over when after yet another rain break, Thompson had Milligan caught behind by Gareth McKeegan for 35 and then Brian Allen falling to the same combination from the very next ball.

All of a sudden the hosts were 69-4 and with overs tumbling with every rain interruption, Newbuildings were well on top.

Gayan Maneeshan made 23 before being bowled by Ross Hunter, and then, as the game started to fizz a little, Jonny Robinson hit the same bowler across the main road three balls in a row.

Hunter got his length a little better for the fourth and ‘Bap’ (25) could only manage to chop it on to the stumps; the subsequent ‘send-off’ from the bowler earning the Newbuildings man a quiet word from the umpires.

Only Levi Kerr with a couple of lofty blows got to double figures after that as the stop-start innings closed on 128 all out.

Hunter (4-38) certainly had the last laugh on this occasion with JT (3-26) and Jason Dunn (2-19) also bowling excellent spells.

‘Bull’ has really improved in the last few seasons and he was excellent with the bat too as the visitors took on the chase.

Robinson (2-30) picked up a couple of quick wickets in the reply, however unbeaten half centuries from Dunn and Hanu Viljoen cemented the current league champions’ place in a second consecutive cup final.

Brigade’s game at Eglinton was also reduced- this one to 33 overs a side- and the Beechgrove team had little difficulty in knocking off the home side’s 126 all out.

Despite the early loss of David Barr, a 70-run partnership between Iftikhar Hussain (34) and Adam McDaid put them bang on track for the win.

McDaid’s knock of 59 (11 fours) ended the same way as Barr’s- caught behind by Tommy Orr off the bowling of Jamie Millar who claimed 2-38.

Scott Macbeth (25*) and Cameron Melly (6*) had little difficulty getting over the winning line from there.

Eglinton’s innings had earlier been controlled by Brigade’s Jamie Millar (4-23) and Hussain (3-16) with Andy Millar (19), Orr (18) and Lee Ritchie (17*) faring best in a below-par total.

Bready and Coleraine will lock horns in the Sam Jeffrey decider after the Bannsiders won a nail-biter at the Boathole.

The Saints opted to bat first on winning the toss, and Jack Macbeth’s 60 (5 fours, 2 sixes) was the highlight of their competitive 155-5; their innings then brought to a swift halt by the rain.

Graeme McCarter hit 34, David Lapsley 18 and Ian Macbeth 17* in what was to be fair, a challenging enough target- subsequently reduced to 141 in 31 overs.

Scott Campbell got Coleraine’s reply off to a great start with an even-time 79 (9 fours, 4 sixes).

Matty Smyth’s 23 was much more circumspect but nonetheless valuable as that pair put on 81 for the first wicket, although after that, the bowlers were very much on top.

McCarter (3-23) and Nathan Cole (2-11) were particularly impressive as Coleraine slumped from 129-3 to 140-8 before finding the one run needed to get them into the final.

Bready were just a bit more emphatic as they accounted for a gritty Ballyspallen by 9 wickets.

Demith Perera made an unbeaten 66, Luke Gilfillan 40 and Stuart Kennedy 27 as the Roe Valley side posted a respectable 195-6 in their reduced 37 overs.

Kyle Magee (3-33) and Davy Scanlon were the pick of the home side’s bowling however the former champions were at a different level with the bat.

David Rankin made 30 at the top of the order before an unbroken 139-run second wicket partnership between Irosh Samarasooriya (83*) and Gavin Roulston (59*) put the game to bed with plenty to spare.

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