Coleraine and Donemana reach final
There was a certain inevitability about Saturday’s North West senior cup semi-finals as Coleraine crushed Bready to reach their first showpiece final in 30 years while Donemana do what they always seem to do these days and frustrated a battling Brigade to reach their sixth in a row.
Ricky-Lee Dougherty’s men last season became the first team since Clooney more than 100 years ago to win four senior cups on the bounce and while Clooney went on to make it six, the Tyrone side are now just a game away from closing the gap to one.
The holders emerged from something of a war of attrition against the Beechgrove side at the weekend to book their place at Strabane Park at the end of next month courtesy of a real team effort.
Former Donemana batsman Ryan Hunter threatened to spoil the home side’s day early on as he mastered the tricky conditions very well to give his side a foot-hold in the contest. Hunter posted a 45-run stand with Gareth McKeegan (28) after David Barr was dismissed in the first over and despite Danza Hyatt following soon after to a stunning Tom Riddles catch, better was to come for the visitors.
Hunter was now in and playing his shots and joined by Iftikhar Hussain the pair added a 100-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Just as they had threatened to dominate however the two batsmen fell in quick succession- Hunter to Frylinck from another quality take from Dwayne McGerrigle for 70 (4 fours, 4 sixes)- and Hussain trapped dead in front by Ritchie McBrine for 42.
After that Jonny Robinson added 23 while skipper Andy Britton held the lower order together as he made 27; those runs taking the Beechgrove boys up to a respectable 222 all out in the final over.
Frylinck (3-32) was the most successful of the home bowlers although the McBrine brothers- Andy and William- proved that spin could prove a valuable weapon on the surface as they returned identical figures of 2-24.
Donemana’s chase began nervously if truth be told with Britton cleaning up Tom Riddles in the first over and then Hussain picking up a really smart catch to get rid of skipper Dougherty for 17 off the bowling of Mark Simpson.
A 68-run partnership between Gary McClintock and Andy McBrine looked set to steer the hosts towards a comfortable victory before the North West Warriors captain inexplicably gave Jonny Robinson the charge, missed the ball completely and was stumped for 38. It may have been needless at that stage of the game however that is how the Ireland all-rounder plays and more importantly, it wasn’t to prove costly in the final reckoning.
Although overseas man Frylinck became Robinson’s second victim soon after (2-65), an unbroken stand worth 79 between Andrew Riddles and William McClintock allowed the home side to coast into the final late on. It was sensible cricket just when Donemana needed it too; Riddles with 4 fours and a six in his 48 not out while McClintock batted with real maturity for his unbeaten 42.
It was tough luck on Brigade who just cannot seem to break the Tyrone team’s hold over them in the cup at present but what a chance now for the holders to make if five-in-a-row.
Obviously however Coleraine will have their own thoughts on that and Scott Campbell’s team did what they had to do to join Donemana in the final with a thumping victory at home to Bready.
The visitors batted first here but were soon in major trouble after former Ireland International, Gordon Cooke, wreaked havoc among their top order. New-ball partner Jarred Barnes started the rot as he had the in-form Andrew Austin caught by Niall McDonnell for 6, but after that it was all Cooke.
The seamer accounted for overseas man Gavin Wallace (0), David Rankin (7), Kyle Hamilton (9), David Scanlon (0) and Jamie Magee (0) to leave himself with figures of 5-33 but more importantly Bready’s innings in tatters on 44-6.
Brian Crumley (28) and Ryan Barr (21) offered what resistance they could before the twin spin of Varun Chopra (2-8) and skipper, Scott Campbell (2-17), tidied things up for the Bannsiders as the Magheramason men were dismissed for a very disappointing 90.
Having lost out at the semi-final stage in each of the past five seasons, Coleraine weren’t likely to mess this up and Niall McDonnell and Tim Chopra looked as if they were going to seal the deal themselves before Andy Lucas had McDonnell caught by Wallace for 33.
That however was to be as good as it got for Scanlon’s outfit as Tim Chopra (35 not out) and nephew Rishi (14 not out) safely negotiated their passage into the final from there.
It was a disappointing semi-final if truth be told but what it has done is help set up a really intriguing 2016 senior cup decider. Donemana, the holders and cup aristocrats, against a Coleraine side that could well provide the toughest challenge that Ricky-Lee Dougherty’s men have faced to date in this impressive run.
The north coast men had new temporary overseas player Shershan Naidoo in their ranks on Saturday but such was their dominance that he was barely needed. It looks certain that Roshen Silva will be back in good time for the senior cup showdown and with all due respect to Naidoo that will be no bad thing as far as the final is concerned.
Silva looks a player of real quality and his inclusion would definitely help attract a few more punters through the gate as Donemana’s incredible record is put on the line one more time.