Coleraine all-rounder Scott Campbell says he and the rest of the team’s misfiring batsmen have to get back in the runs during Saturday’s Danske Bank Senior Cup semi-final against holders Donemana.
The Bannsiders’ hopes of retaining their North West Premiership crown hang by a thread after successive defeats to Donemana and Strabane last weekend and the trip to The Holm has assumed monumental proportions.
Coleraine aren’t quite drinking in the last-chance saloon yet, but with an Irish Cup quarter-final to come against North Down on Sunday, Campbell acknowledges they can ill-afford to play as badly again.
“Last weekend was horrible, we have basically the same side as last year but it’s not coming together for us at the minute,” said Campbell. “We just haven’t scored enough runs and the blame has to go to us in the top order. Rishi (Chopra) has been getting good runs but it’s the starts we have been getting that are the problem. It’s putting pressure on the rest of the batters.”
Campbell, the North West Warriors players, prefers to think positively ahead of a second meeting with Donemana in the space of a week. Coleraine won at The Holm in the league in 2013 and want revenge for a semi-final defeat a year ago.
“It’s a massive weekend for us, if we win both matches we’ll be in the final of the Senior Cup and in the semi-final of the Irish Cup,” he continued. “It’s always a tough match at The Holm but we beat them there last year, I think they scored 330 odd and we had to get 250 in 33 overs. It shows you that anything can happen when you are chasing runs there. If our batting comes good we have a good chance of beating them.
“I think we will be looking to bat first, get runs and on the board and put Donemana under pressure. There is pressure chasing runs in a semi-final.”
Donemana are back to full strength with wicketkeeper Ricky-Lee Dougherty returning from holiday. He replaces his father Richard, whose unlikely batting heroics accounted for Lisburn in last Sunday’s dramatic Ulster Cup tie at The Holm.
Brigade, runners-up to Donemana in each of the last two finals, are without two key players for the semi-final against Bready at Magheramason.
Ryan Hunter, the opening batsman, was due to see a consultant yesterday after breaking a finger a fortnight ago.
He is definitely out along with Mattie Moran.
Bready go into the tie in excellent form, with their performances peaking as they took the prize scalp of North Down in Sunday’s Ulster Cup tie.
Craig Young, the leading wicket-taker in the North West with 25 victims, will take the new ball with captain David Scanlon, who himself has 16 wickets.
There are two Premiership matches on Saturday with Eglinton and Fox Lodge clashing in a crunch match at the bottom end of the table. Leaders Strabane can extend their advantage at the top at home to Ardmore.
Brigade host Ardmore on Sunday while Eglinton face Bready.