Ardmore and Ballyspallen secure surprise away victories
It has been a very busy week for North West cricket and there was a superb finish to a crammed programme with the focus switched to the senior game on Friday and Saturday.
First up were the six T20 semi-finals on Friday night and that was followed by a full league programme on Saturday where Ballyspallen and Ardmore produced the day's two surprises.
'Spallen have had little joy in the first half of the summer, but an spirited 83 from Curtis McElwee (10 fours, 4 sixes) backed up by a more composed 48 from Andy Christie helped the Roe Valley side to a total of 215 up at the Holm. Jordan McGonigle picked up four wickets for the hosts but they were soon in trouble in their reply.
Four wickets for Josh Wilson got the visitors into the match and despite 68 from in-form Ritchie McBrine, a further four wickets for McElwee turned the game Ballyspallen's way.
Cameos from Gary McClintock and Kyle Dougherty gave the Tyrone side a bit of hope, but it wasn't to last as they were finally all out for 162.
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Runs were hard come by for Ardmore at Beechgrove - Dhram Singh's patient 36 best for them as they used their full 40 orders to post 140-9 against Brigade. Ross Allen used the conditions well to pick up 3-22 while there were a couple of wickets for Ryan Brolly and Iftikhar Hussain.
Little did the home side realise how competitive that total would be though as Tyron Koen's three very early strikes was followed by four more for Singh as Brigade fell in a heap.
Usually the Brigade ca find someone to dig them out, but it wasn't to be this time as Ryan Barr's 18 was the best of it- a final score of 73 meaning a 67-run deficit for Andy Britton's men.
Closest game of the day was at the Boathole where St Johnston defended a total of 120 all out by the skin of their teeth to beat Bonds Glen.
Josh Cole's 20 was best of the Donegal side's batting while Derek Curry bowled superbly to finish with 3-7 from 8 overs.
The Bee Gees were going along nicely courtesy of Mattie Barr's aggressive 38 before some tight bowling led by Dawie Barnard and Michael Rankin got the Saints back into it. A nervous tail-end was just unable to steer the visitors over the line however as they ended up three runs short.
Curry and Barr were pipped to the man-of-the-match award by Aidan Devine who umpired both ends of the entire match and did so brilliantly, as the North West umpire shortage was highlighted once more.
Strabane came out on the wrong side of a six-wicket verdict as they were bowled out by Bready for 111.
Aaron Gillespie made 29, but three wickets apiece for Reece Kelly and Kat Bhavsar did the bulk of the damage for the visitors. Irosh Samarasooriya hit 2 fours and 4 sixes in his unbeaten 60 as the Magheramason side headed home with the points.
Fox Lodge and Glendermott served up a thriller at Ballymagorry that finally went the way of the home team. Nauman Anwar, Glendermott's overseas man hit 6 fours and 4 sixes on his way to 74, but there wasn't an awful lot of support around him.
Jamie McIntyre and Jonny Robinson shared eight wickets between them as the Rectory men posted a total of 191 all out.
The Foxes didn't get it all their own way in reply - early wickets for Anwar and Reece Laird keeping Glendermott in the hunt - before Robinson's 55 and 40 not out from skipper Aaron Heywood helped the hosts over the line with three wickets to spare.
Newbuildings had too many guns for Burndennett; Gareth McKeegan hitting 9 fours and 4 sixes in his 82 in which he and Mark Hanna shared an opening stand of 100. Hanna chipped in with 47 while Jason Dunn made 24 and Trent McKeegan 23 in a total of 242-8. Aaron McDermott (3-44) was best with the ball for the visitors who made a reasonable fist of the reply without ever looking likely to win.
Mark Mooney's 43 was the best of 'Dennett's response with Corey Roulston (27) and Gary Neely (23) also chipping in, but Trent McKeegan's 4-19 ensured the points stayed at home.
In the day's final game, an unbroken 106-run stand between Jamie and Andy Millar helped Eglinton see off the challenge of Coleraine in a high scoring encounter. Jamie made an unbeaten 95 and Andy 51 not out as the Villagers made a total of 229-5.
To be fair, Coleraine had a real crack at this; Rory Knox with 57, Scott Campbell 33, Matthew Hutchinson 26, Varun Chopra 22 and David Cooke 21, however four wickets for Simon Dunn, and two apiece for Mark Averill and Robbie Millar saw the reply close on 201, a 28-run win for Eglinton.