The North West’s Irish Cup campaign already reads like the Liberal Democrats’ performance at the General Election. A virtual wipeout.
Of the seven clubs in action during Saturday’s first round, six were knocked out, with Ardmore the only winners after they scraped home by three wickets against Ballymena.
And just as the Lib Dems lost their big-name politicians like Danny Alexander, Vince Cable and Charles Kennedy, so the North West mourned the departure of its big beasts, Donemana, Coleraine and Brigade.
All three of the likely North West Premiership winners had home advantage on Saturday but none could reach the second stage after defeats to North County, Muckamore and Civil Service North respectively.
All three will be bitterly disappointed with Donemana’s 33-run defeat to North County at The Holm sparked by a remarkable batting collapse which saw six wickets fall for just four runs.
Thomas Riddles and Steven Wallace had compiled a 35-run opening stand as they chased a modest target of 221 but almost in the blink of an eye Donemana were 39 for six, Conor Sheil (5-31), inflicting much of the damage.
At least Donemana refused to go down without a whimper, captain Richard Kee hitting three fours and a six in a quickfire 60 but when he fell the score was 109 for seven and the result surely a foregone conclusion. Ritchie McBrine (56) launched a blistering fightback, striking three fours and six sixes in a stand of 76 for the eighth wicket with Willaim McClintock to take Donemana within sight of victory on 185 for seven. But when McBrine fell to Brendan Parchment (3-46) he was one of three wickets to fall for three runs.
Brigade will rue what might have been after a worryingly familiar batting collapse cost them at home to CSNI. In a rain-affected match, the home side were seemingly cruising on 101 for one chasing a revised total of 180 in 45 overs.
Ryan Hunter and Iftikhar Hussain (44) had added 64 for the second wicket but when the latter went lbw to Jason van der Merwe, Brigade began to wobble. Hunter lost partners on a regular basis and when he was sixth man out, caught on the boundary off the off-spinner Benn Adair (5-25) for 56, the game was up.
With van der Merwe also taking three for 33 Brigade lost their last six wickets for just 17 runs to finish 22 runs short.
Coleraine’s demise to NCU Section One side Muckamore was perhaps the most surprising result of the day.
Gordon Cooke made an unbeaten 43 from 73 balls as Coleraine limped to 196 for six batting first.
After a series of rain interruptions the Muckamore target was revised to 127 in 34 overs under Duckworth Lewis.
The Moylena side always looked in control with Ryan Haire making an unbeaten 50 from just 60 balls. The left-hander struck five fours and three sixes as Muckamore got home with 11 balls to spare.
The only other North West side through are Bready after Terenure conceded their tie.