How Bready even became embroiled in a relegation battle in last season’s North West Premiership remains a mystery to many.
David Scanlon’s men avoided the drop after an incredible late winning run and continued that good form into the new campaign by beating Donemana in a thriller at The Holm on Saturday.
Donemana had seemed comfortable enough as winter signing Stephen Wallace struck eight fours and three sixes on his way to a top score of 89. With Kamran Sajjiid contributing 40 and wicket-keeper Ricky-Lee Dougherty 42, last year’s Senior Cup winners finished on 255 for nine, a good total if not entirely out of sight. Ryan Barr was the pick of the visitors’ bowling attack with three for 55.
Bready have developed a habit of upsetting Donemana in recent seasons and David Rankin led the run chase with typical belligerence.
Rankin lost partners regularly but stands of 52 for the fourth wicket with Ryan Barr (24) and most importantly 64 with Craig Young for the seventh took the Magheramason side to the brink of victory.
There was still to be a late twist however as Rankin, after crashing 10 fours and two sixes, and Young (36) became victims of Junior McBrine (4-37). The last pair needed four runs to get Bready over the line and they achieved it to ensure Donemana’s losing start.
The action was almost every bit as tense at The Bleachgreen where newly-promoted Ardmore gave champions Coleraine an almighty scare. Adrian Murphy (28) and the returning veteran Dekker Curry (37) gave Ardmore a solid platform but three wickets for Rishi Chopra and two for Gordon Cooke put the Bannsiders back in charge.
At 155 for eight, Ardmore were struggling but Andrew Riddles, the Warriors all-rounder, struck an unbeaten 46 to lead them to a competitive 188.
The possibility of a shock was heightened when Scott Campbell and Johnny Ring fell cheaply to leave Coleraine nine for two and after striking five boundaries in a quickfire 34, Niall McDonnell fell to the impressive George Brolly (1-23).
If there was a turning point in the match it came very next ball as wicketkeeper Murphy failed to hold on to a chance from Coleraine’s South African professional Kyle Vardhan.
The left-hander went on to top score with 52, including nine boundaries, before he was lbw to Gary Neely, and a flurry of wickets left Colearine back in trouble on 157 for seven.
Ardmore’s hopes of pulling off a shock were ended by Gordon Cooke and Jarred Barnes, with the former striking five boundaries in an unbeaten 24 and Barnes adding 15 not out.
Coleraine were home with seven balls to spare and they already have displayed the quality of champions by winning a game they could easily have lost. Ardmore too underlined that they are not here to make up the numbers.