Day of drama in Sports Hub senior cup

The North West basked in sunshine for Saturday’s first round ties in this year’s Sports Hub senior cup with some brilliant action marking the return of 50-over cricket. 

Individual performance of the day went to Newbuildings batsman Ross Dougherty whose double century dug his side out of a spot of bother against senior cup debutants Letterkenny.

Ross’s unbeaten 201 and a century from overseas man Hanu Viljoen helped the hosts smash the biggest winning margin (runs) in the North West senior cup as Newbuildings won by a whopping 386.

The game was scheduled to be played at Drummond, however this week’s rain meant that the Roe Valley venue wasn’t going to be ready, and therefore late on Friday evening both teams agreed to switch the tie.

Letterkenny won the toss and opted to put the home side in and despite the raised eyebrows all around the ground, the Donegal men made a brilliant start.

Wasiq Riaz took two wickets in his very first over and before the powerplay was finished- Newbuildings were 47-4.

It could have been worse still for the hosts- overseas man Hanu Viljoen was given run out before a correct consultation between the two umpires confirmed that the ‘keeper hadn’t gathered the ball when he broke the stumps.

From then on though the batting side ran riot- Dougherty making 201, Viljoen 106 with Gareth McKeegan’s 49* and Ryan Hunter 28 helping their side to a total of 426-6 in their 50 overs.

Riaz was by far the pick of the bowlers with 4-60, however chasing the mammoth total, Letterkenny’s batting was cruelly exposed. Vamsi Dasari’s 12 was the best of their effort- Trent McKeegan with 5-19, Viljoen 2-0 and Charlie Downey 2-13 as the inning closed on 40 all out.

It was a steep learning curve for Letterkenny but they will be rightfully buoyed by their electric start and there are much better days to come.

If Ross Doc’s innings was the personal highlight of the round, Strabane’s 8-wicket win over Bready at Magheramason must surely be the team performance of the day.

Irosh Samarasooriya made 55, Jamie Magee 38 and David Rankin 28 as the hosts posted 203 all out batting first- probably ‘par’ in the conditions, but well within the Red Caps’ compass.

Ryan Gallagher (3-36), Usman Azhar (2-37) and Andrew Mullen (2-45) bowled well in tandem to keep the 2011 winners at arm’s length.

Overseas man Nasir Nawaz got the visitors off to a flier in reply- sharing a 48-run stand with Kevin Gallagher and then another of 120 with skipper Aaron Gillespie for the second wicket.

The latter was out for 41 before the end but Nawaz was well set and eventually finished unbeaten on 119 (11 fours, 5 sixes) in a huge win for the Park side.

Glendermott will also lay claim to ‘performance of the day’ as they swerved the North West 200 to get to Coleraine and posted a 7-wicket win at Sandel Lodge.

Matthew Hutchinson hit 97 (5 fours, 2 sixes) as the hosts set a target of 254-7; Marcus Poskitt adding 74 (14 fours, 1 six) and Ravi Karunaratne 46 while Gihan Cloete (3-33) bowled best for Glendermott.

The South African didn’t mind batting on the Coleraine track either- hitting 17 fours and 5 sixes in a magnificent knock of 152 not out.

Alan Johnson kept Cloete company for the majority of the afternoon- ‘Johnsy’ making a composed 59 not out in an unbroken stand of 195 that sent the Rectory side into Round 2.

Holders Fox Lodge made light of a tricky looking first round tie at Bonds Glen on the back of an impressive bowling performance by Aaron Heywood’s men.

Adam Walker was called into the Warriors training squad during the week by Boyd Rankin and the tall seamer showed his quality here in a spell of 4-20 from 10 overs.

Ramey Harper (3-23) and Aaron Heywood (3-28) were also on the mark as the home side were bowled out for 96 and from there, there was only going to be one winner.

The Bee Gees did take the early wickets of Aidan Logue and Travis Nicholl at the start of the reply, however a quick 53 not out from Gayan Maneeshan (5 sixes, 4 fours) and 28* from Jason Milligan secured a cosy 8-wicket verdict for the cup holders.

Brigade were forced to work for their 5-wicket win at Ballyspallen- Demith Perera (35) and Stuart Kennedy (18) best of the Roe Valley team’s 105 all out as they batted first.

Scott Macbeth (4-30), Iftikhar Hussain (3-29) and Josh Wilson (2-14) were best with the ball for the Beechgrove side while Hussain (29) and Macbeth (23*) ensured Brigade’s progress despite a couple of wickets apiece for Perera and Stephen Kennedy.

Levi Dougherty (54), Kyle Dougherty (49), Gary McClintock (45), William McClintock (31) , Dwayne McGerrigle (30) and Dean Mehaffey (23) combined to help Donemana post 268 all out as they entertained Burndennett.

Corey Roulston (3-49) and two wickets each for Aaron McDermott, Andy Barr and Mark Pollock restricted the damage, but only Barr (37) and Pollock (20) could get among the runs in the visitors’ reply.

Gary McClintock picked up 3-15, DJ Doherty 3-41 and William McBrine 2-14 as the innings closed on 132- a 136-run win for the Holm lads.

Eglinton recorded a facile 9-wicket win at home to St Johnston courtesy of a 126-run opening stand between Liam Doherty and Tommy Orr.

Chasing a modest 129 to win, Orr was stumped by Jack Macbeth off the bowling of David Anthony for an even-time 44.

Doherty, who will travel to Cork with the Warriors in the morning made an agressive, 48-ball 71 not out (5 fours and five sixes) as the home side needed just 16 overs to rattle off the required runs.

Macbeth’s 34 was the best of the Saints’ innings- Jacob Maroske chipping in with 28 and David Lapsley 27 while another man getting ready for the trek south tomorrow, Mike Erlank (4-15) was best with the ball for Eglinton as they booked their passage into the second round.

The day’s final match was the closest of the lot as Ardmore got past Killyclooney in the final over with just 2 runs to spare!

Skipper Rachit Gaur hit a brilliant century for the Bleachgreen side with Sabin Babu adding 44 as Ardmore set their hosts a total of 274-9 in their 50 overs. Gaur smashed 14 fours and 7 sixes in his unbeaten 141 with Jordan Nelson (3-47), Jordan Conor (2-25), and Jason Wallace (2-64) all among the wickets for the bowling side.

‘Clooney were bang on target in their reply- William Finlay falling just one run short of his century (7 fours, 7 sixes) with fellow opener Blayde Capell making 81 (7 fours, 4 sixes) as Timmy Dougherty’s men reached 143-0 before Ardmore’s bowlers fought back.

Dharm Singh (4-41) started the revival with Gaur (2-35) and Dave Bezzant (2-55) also getting in on the action.

Still Killyclooney hung in though- Nelson with 20, Connor (15) and Wallace (15) getting it down to needing three from the last over.

Gaur took on the responsibility himself and conceded a single from the first delivery before bowling Wallace off his pads next ball to send his side into the next round in a cracking tie.

The eight teams now left will find out their quarter-final opponents on Monday.

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