Sometimes in sport, it’s not about whether you lose, it’s about how you lose.
What will worry the North West most is not necessarily that their clubs lost six of the seven ties played in the O’Neill’s Ulster Cup on Saturday, it was the manner of the defeats.
Coleraine, the cup holders, took a beating at North Down, fancied Strabane were rarely at the races at CIYMS while Fox Lodge were completely humiliated by Waringstown at The Lawn.
Ardmore and Eglinton were conclusively beaten on their home grounds by Civil Service North and Instonians respectively, and although Brigade took their game with Lisburn to the final ball at Beechgrove, they would have been expecting to win at home against a mid-table NCU side.
Bready were the only North West winners but it was far from convincing from the Magheramason team, as they rather stumbled over the line, losing eight wickets chasing just 100 to beat a Muckamore team who had been without a single victory in any competition this season.
Bready are at least joined in the last eight by Donemana, given a bye because Ballymena don’t play on Sundays, but it was a setback for North West cricket after the highs of the Irish Cup the previous Sunday.
Coleraine had the misfortune to be on the wrong end of a typically brilliant innings from Ryan Haire, the North Down captain, at The Green. Gordon Cooke’s men had taken wickets regularly to reduce the home side to 169 for seven but Haire crashed an unbeaten 75 from just 58 balls, including seven fours and two sixes, to help the two-time Ulster Cup winners post 205 for seven in their 40 overs.
Coleraine’s run chase was disappointingly timid and with 10 overs remaining they required the best part of 10 runs an over despite having lost just four wickets.
Not a single player managing to score at a run-a-ball and they subsided to 140 all out as James Cameron-Dow, Peter Eakin and Marty Moreland all took two wickets.
The innings of the day was played at The Lawn where Waringstown’s opening batsman James Hall hit a stunning unbeaten 132 against Fox Lodge. The former Ireland international struck 11 fours and six sixes, reaching his century in 93 balls, as the villagers piled up the second-biggest total of the day, 241 for four.
Worse was to follow for the Foxies in what was a catastrophic batting display, the admirable Brian Allen apart, Astonishingly there were six ducks and with two other players managing just a single each, eight batsmen managed a grand total of two runs between them.
At one stage they were 36 for nine, but Allen, batting at number three, held firm on 35 as they were dismissed for just 53. Left-arm spinner Gary Kidd, who has started the season brilliantly, took three more wickets and Kyle McCallan claimed four for just seven runs in a 188-run thrashing.
Waringstown have now won all eight of their matches under the new captaincy of Lee Nelson and after finishing 2013 with five consecutive victories, they are on a remarkable 13-match unbeaten run in all competitions.