Cricket: Coleraine’s Scott Campbell is still cautious with title within reach

Perhaps only in Scott Campbell’s wildest dreams could he have imagined how well last weekend was going to go for Coleraine.

The Bannsiders were massive favourites to beat relegation-threatened St Johnston of course, but the results involving the other two title contenders were much more unexpected.

Donemana, the Senior Cup winners, fell to a spectacular defeat at Strabane on Saturday.

If that result wasn’t a complete bolt from the blue, barely anyone would have predicted Brigade’s implosion at home to struggling Ardmore.

On Sunday, Coleraine then sat back and watched their nearest rivals play each other and after another batting collapse, Donemana lost their fourth league match of the season to leave them with a mountain to climb to get back in the title race.

“What happened at the weekend doesn’t change the table an awful lot but obviously it was a good weekend for us, with both of the other teams losing on Saturday,” said Campbell.

“But we still have three tough games coming up, starting against Ardmore on Saturday. We set out last Saturday to beat St Johnston and put the pressure on the other teams and it worked. It was also nice knowing they were playing each other the next day and one team would definitely drop points.”

Coleraine now travel to Ardmore, a game that remains a must-win because they have still to play both Donemana and Coleraine in their final two matches.

“The fixture secretary will be delighted,” Campbell joked. “I don’t think Donemana are out of it, they have a game in hand on us and we still have to play them next week. We have three games left and if we win them we win the league, it’s a simple as that.”

The title race may not even go to the final day, but Campbell is refusing to look further ahead than the next match.

“Ardmore are an unpredictable team, they have beaten Donemana and Brigade, so we will concentrate on them.”

In the other games Donemana go to Bready and Brigade host Eglinton. Strabane face St Johnston who badly need a win as they face an immediate return to the Championship.

Last night Eglinton booked their place in Sunday’s Twenty20 finals day at The Rectory after a victory over Bready.

Stuart Thompson, the Ireland international, top scored with an unbeaten 87 as Eglinton piled up 158 for two batting first.

As the light closed in Bready attempted to keep up on Duckworth-Lewis but they were behind when play was abandoned.

Donemana play Strabane in the other semi-final tonight.