Burndennett and Fox Lodge claim opening day shocks
In an exciting opening weekend all scheduled matches in the North West’s new Longs SuperValu T20 competition were played to a conclusion at the weekend and as expected there were a couple of shocks as the season was finally set to go.
Action had already got under way on Friday night as Coleraine recovered from an early setback to claim the first points of the season at home to Ballyspallen.
Batting first the home side were reduced to 21-4 before David Cooke showed all his experience to turn things around. The keeper/batsman shared an unbroken 93-run stand with Mattie Hutchinson that allowed the former North West champions to set a competitive target of 114. Cooke eventually made 75 not out with Hutchinson adding 32 but the visitors found the going really tough in reply.
The writing was on the wall after the first 3 overs yielded just a single run and the bowlers remained on top from there. The final response was 43 all out and it took the best part of 19 overs to put together but this was a young Ballyspallen side who could well get better as the season unfolds.
The north coast men were back at it again on Saturday as they took a real stranglehold on their group with a stunning win at Eglinton. Batting first, the villagers made 108-6 in their 20 overs with Tommy Orr (46) holding the innings together. Alan Whitcroft, formerly of Armagh CC fared best with the ball for the visitors as he claimed 2-25. It was to be with the bat that the Bannsiders really shone however, Scott Campbell with 55 not out and Rishi Chopra an unbeaten 42 as they romped to a maximum 10-wicket victory.
At The Rectory, another couple of new faces helped Newbuildings also post an impressive win as they had 8 wickets to spare over Glendermott. Johnny Thompson (54*) and Ross Dougherty (52*) put together an unbroken century stand for the 3rd wicket as the Foyleview men chased down their target of of 142 with plenty to spare. Jason Lynch had earlier made 38 and Bob Robinson 37 fared best with the bat for Alan Johnson’s team while Graeme Robb (3-22) bowled best of Newbuildings’ attack.
Brigade also hit the ground running just over the tins as they eased past St Johnston. Former Saint, Ryan Macbeth picked up 4 wickets for 11 runs- his brother Scott one of his victims- as the Donegal men could only manage 79-8. Skipper Michael Rankin top scored with 22 while Sabin added 19, however 30 from David Barr and 29 from Ryan Hunter set the senior cup holders on their way to an easy win.
Donemana proved too strong for Ardmore, mostly courtesy of a typical Dwayne McGerrigle innings. The former Ireland player crashed 10 sixes in his unbeaten 82 as McGerrigle shared an unbroken stand of 115 with Dean Mehaffey (38*). Conor Brolly claimed 2-15 as the Holm outfit posted 153-3 and it was more than enough. Jarred Wilson’s 21 was the best of Ardmore’s response as two wickets apiece from Ash Buchanan, Mehaffey and Levi Dougherty saw them close 69 runs adrift on 84-8.
Closest game of the day was at Killyclooney where fellow Championship side Bonds Glen were the visitors. ‘Clooney batted first and made 173-8 with William Finlay (46), Alan Colhoun (34) and Timmy Dougherty (30) all among the runs. Two wickets apiece for Derek Curry and Sam Kincaid prevented the damage from being worse. John Long gave the Bee Gees real hope as he made 61 at the start of their reply while Curry then added a valuable 42 to add to his wickets. Stevie Barr chipped in with 21 but with 9 runs needed from the last three deliveries young Ben Nixon (22*) hit 10 off 2 to give the visitors a last-gasp 4 wicket win.
There was something of a turn-up in the day’s other two games with a superb 87 from Ross McCay (9 fours and 5 sixes) helping Burndennett to stun Bready. Andy Barr added 31 in the home side’s 155-5; Conor Olphert with 3-8 easily the pick of the Bready bowlers. The Premiership team struggled in reply as Mark Roulston (4-15) and Mark Pollock (3-26) made life difficult, and Davy Scanlon’s 20 was the best of their 88 all out.
Fox Lodge won at Strabane Park too as Brian Allen made 29 and Craig Doherty 21 in a modest total of 113-7. Tom Harpur with 2-14 fared best of the Red Caps’ attack while Murthy’s 28 and 25 from opener Raorane was the best of their 95-7. Aaron Heywood (3-18) and Jonny Robinson (2-27) ensured the visitors got over the line to win by 18 runs.