Captain Scott Campbell inspired as Coleraine hit the summit

Coleraine's Scott Campbell
Coleraine's Scott Campbell

Coleraine have raced to the summit of the North West Premiership after new captain Scott Campbell inspired them to a second successive league victory on Saturday.

The North West Warriors star took five wickets as Bready were dismissed for just 145 at Sandel Lodge and then struck an unbeaten 63 as the Bannsiders cruised home by seven wickets.

Campbell is flying back and forth from the mainland as he completes his university exams but he so far looks perfectly equipped to juggle the responsibility of the captaincy and studying.

All the talk in the Bready camp pre-match may have been about negating the impact of Coleraine’s opening bowlers, Graeme McCarter and Jarred Barnes.

McCarter did strike early to dismiss Bready opener but at 85 for one, the Magheramason side looked well equipped to post a challenging total.

However, they reckoned without Campbell. The left-arm spinner changed the entire direction of the match when he broke the 83-run stand for the second wicket between David Rankin and youngster Andrew Austin. Rankin went first, bowled for 55 made at exactly a run-a-ball, including two fours and three sixes, and then Gordon Cooke bowled professional Michael Loubser for just three.

But at 110 for three Bready were still handily placed before five wickets, including Austin for 32, fell for just nine runs in the space of just four overs to leave them 119 for eight. They scraped to 145 with Campbell taking five for 27.

David Scanlon, the Bready captain, bowled Niall McDonnell in the third over of Coleraine’s reply but Campbell and professional Kylin Vardhan (39 from 41) added 60 for the second wicket.

Campbell remained unbeaten on 63 including five fours and two sixes while Rishi Chopra added a quickfire unbeaten 24, including three fours and a six, as the target was knocked off in exactly 29 overs.

Eglinton are already feeling the benefits of signing an overseas professional. They struggled without one last season but West Indian Oraine Williams inspired them to Saturday’s 54-run victory over Ardmore.

Craig Averill (39) and Stuart Thompson (43) helped Eglinton off to a solid start but with Gary Neely taking three for 31 the game was in the balance at 97 for four. Williams then struck three fours and a six in smashing 57 from just 46 balls with Jamie Millar (27) offering crucial support in a stand of 90.

Eglinton’s final total of 217 for eight in 38 overs seemed a long way off for Ardmore when they slumped to 38 for four. With Decker Curry (28) and professional Forster Murtizwa both run out it was left to Ryan Brolly with 51, including four fours and a six, to offer Ardmore a glimmer of hope.

They were eventually dismissed for 170 with Richard Wylie (2-25) the pick of the Eglinton attack. Richard Stewart and Mark Averill also claimed two wickets apiece as Eglinton got off the mark.