Brigade keep their side of the bargain

Coleraine's Scott Campbell in action against North Down in ther Irish Cup quareter-final clash
Coleraine's Scott Campbell in action against North Down in ther Irish Cup quareter-final clash
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As Donemana were cruising to victory over Coleraine, so Brigade kept their side of the bargain, reaching the Danske Bank North West Senior Cup final and ensuring history was made.

The two clubs will meet at Strabane on July 18 and 19, the first time in the history of the competition that two clubs have faced each other in the final for three successive years.

Brigade were, if anything, probably slight underdogs against Bready at Magheramason, given the respective form of the teams. But a bowling attack containing Andy Britton, Mark Simpson, Johnny Thompson and Richard Hepburn never allowed Bready to set a demanding target.

Progress was slow throughout much of the innings despite David Barr hitting eight fours in a top score of 69. Robert Spence struck an unbeaten 54, including three fours and two sixes, but with Simpson claiming four for 49, including the wicket of the dangerous David Rankin, and Hepburn (2-23) taking the prize scalp of professional Ernest Kemm, Bready could only manage 192 for nine.

With Ryan Hunter out injured and Mattie Moran unavailable, captain Gareth McKeegan promoted himself to open the Brigade innings with Ian McGregor and the two openers put the visitors in charge with a stand of 60.

McKeegan and professional Digvijay Amarnath took their side to the brink of victory with a 72-run partnership for the third wicket. The Indian professional was eventually run out for 50 after hitting four fours and McKeegan fell late on for 56 including six fours and a six, but Brigade cruised home by five wickets with more than five overs to spare.

The problems continue to pile up for Fox Lodge as they crashed to a sixth consecutive league defeat of the season at the hands of Eglinton. Tabish Khan (56) and Brian Allen (55) compiled a century partnership for the second wicket as the Foxies batted first but they lost their last nine wickets for 87 to slump to 182 all out. Jamie Millar (3-29) and Stuart Thompson (3-37) were the pick of the Eglinton attack.

Eglinton lost Andy Pierce early in the reply but a solid 44 from Craig Averill and patient 38 not out from former skipper Karl O’Doherty got them back on track.

Ireland international Thompson struck 10 boundaries in a fine 59 and although Stephen Smyth and Christopher Pierce fell cheaply, the home side secured a vital five-wicket win.

Strabane made it five consecutive league victories with a thumping seven-wicket win over Ardmore. Decker Curry, the North West’s leading run-scorer, struck six fours and 2 sixes to put Ardmore into a decent position batting first. But from 149 for five the Bleachgreen club lost five wickets for eight runs to crash to 157 all out.

Strabane openers Kevin Martin and Matt Bentley got the reply off to a solid start with a 63-run stand before the latter fell to Andrew Riddles and although Peter Gillespie (31) and Aaron Gillespie fell in quick succession, the home side were always in control.

Ryan Gallagher made 21 not out and Martin an unbeaten 75 as the Red Caps completed as convincing a victory as they might have hoped for.