Huge weekend of cup cricket for North West clubs

Lawrence Moore looks ahead to a busy few days of cup cricket


Hopefully the recent spell of superb weather will continue into the weekend at least, as local clubs prepare for a couple of days of eagerly-anticipated cup cricket.

No doubt that top billing will be the Sports Hub senior cup tie between Donemana and Brigade at the Holm.┬áLast season was the first time in 15 years that one or other of them wasn’t in the final, such has been the success of both clubs in this competition.

In four of the previous fourteen seasons they played each other in the decider, with Donemana winning them all.

Brigade have won previous cup clashes prior to the final but it’s certainly the hosts who would have the upper hand in the head-to-heads.

Geeth Kumara seems set to still be in Donemana colours this weekend although they will still be without Ireland International Andy McBrine who was home for a few days this week, but is heading off again on Friday.

Brigade will operate from the same panel of players and as always will try to keep the home side’s very attacking batsmen as quiet as possible. If they do that, they’ll fancy their chances of progressing, but they won’t want Dwayne McGerrigle, William McClintock and company hanging about too long.

It’s always a game to relish no matter when they meet but you would expect there will be a bumper crowd on Saturday.

There are of course three other massive games to look forward to as well- holders Fox Lodge will host 2005 winners Glendermott whose only win so far this season was in the first round of this competition.

It’s a strange stat for the Rectory team given that they have the services of the highly-regarded Gihan Cloete in their side but they need to find a way of batting around the impressive South African.

Ben Mills and his team might be glad of the break from league action and it’s a bit of a free hit for them against a side that bar the toss of a coin in Week 1 have really hit their straps in the early part of the season.

Eglinton and Ardmore clash at the village and are another pairing with cup final history too, although you have to go back a little further for that.

The home side have the potential for a really big performance, especially with Liam Doherty starting to find his feet in recent weeks. In Mike Erlank they have an overseas man well capable of changing the course of a game and there is plenty of depth to the batting and bowling on their day.

It’s a similar story for Ardmore- the only unbeaten team in the league to this point- and they have players like Dharm Singh, Harry Zimmermann, skipper Rachit Gaur and overseas man Aviwe Mgijima who can also turn it on.

It’s as difficult a game to call as there is this weekend; Ardmore’s potentially better options offset by Eglinton’s home advantage.

The final senior cup game sees Strabane host Newbuildings and while the visitors surely start favourites, the Red Caps will be unphased by that.

The home side looks to have found another good overseas player in Nasir Nawaz while Aaron Gillespie is arguably in the form of his life.

Kevin Gallagher looks like a new player at the top of the order where Rhys Logue has improved as well, while Ryan Gallagher and ‘Uzzy’ Azhar can be dangerous when in the mood.

The visitors themselves are chock full of big game players- Gareth McKeegan, Jonny Thompson, Ryan Hunter, Mark Hannah and Ross Dougherty could all take a game away very quickly, and Strabane do look to have their hands full.

The Sam Jeffrey Shield quarter-finals will also take place on Saturday with a couple of those ties also standing out.

It’s been some time since we had a Donegal derby in a major competition and that’s exactly what’s coming up with Letterkenny taking on St Johnston.

The two clubs have been working very closely since Letterkenny arrived in the North West league but friendships will be very much put to the side come Saturday afternoon.

Letterkenny usually play their home games at Drummond, but have agreed to switch the tie to the Boathole which is a ground that many of them have played a lot of their cricket at in the past.

There should be some atmosphere here too and while the Saints start clear favourites to progress, it should be a real occasion.

Killyclooney, the current senior league leaders entertain Bready in another good looking tie.

Had this been last season (or pretty much any other year) Bready would have been long odds on to win. Davy Scanlon loves nothing more than a challenge and the likelihood is he’ll get one from man-on-fire Blayde Capell.

The South African’s numbers are eye-watering and with a minimum of 16 matches still to play this season, the opener has already scored 740 runs at an average of 148 across all competitions.

Decker Curry’s highest-ever runs aggregate of 1900 could well be in danger if Capell continues to fire, but ‘Sca’ will have him in his sights on Saturday.

In the other two games, Bonds Glen, another team in decent nick entertain Coleraine while Ballyspallen host Burndennett.

‘Spallen struggled in the early weeks of the season, as indeed have the visitors, but there have been signs of recovery shoots in recent games.

The home side have a solid overseas man in Demith Perera and if he can get among the runs, it certainly gives the Roe Valley team a chance.

The Bee Gees are notoriously difficult to beat on their own patch and much will depend on how strong a side the Bannsiders can muster in that one.

There’s also a full programme of White Horse T20 fixtures before the weekend- six on Thursday and one on Friday- just in case you’re not getting enough cricket!

The full list of fixtures is as follows-

White Horse Hotel


Thursday 8 June (6.30pm)

Fox Lodge v Donemana

Coleraine v St Johnston

Strabane v Ballyspallen

Bready v Ardmore

Killyclooney v Bonds Glen

Glendermott v Eglinton


Friday 9 June (6.30pm)

Burndennett v Newbuildings



Saturday 10 June (11am)

Donemana v Brigade

Fox Lodge v Glendermott

Eglinton v Ardmore

Strabane v Newbuildings



Saturday 10 June (11am)

St Johnston v Letterkenny

Bonds Glen v Coleraine

Ballyspallen v Burndennett

Killyclooney v Bready

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