Two completed matches at Queensway this season. Two nerve-jangling finishes and Derriaghy have now written two chapters in what is becoming a fairytale return to top-flight cricket.
On the opening day of the season, Craig Lewis’ men tore up the script with a thrilling victory over CIYMS, and last night it was the turn of North West kingpins Donemana to be humbled at a sun-kissed Queensway.
If that Premier League win over CI was tense, this Irish Cup first round tie was almost unbearable to watch as Donemana blew a commanding position in their run chase, and looked out it at 189 for eight until a remarkable partnership between brothers Richie and William McBrine for the ninth wicket threatened to break Derriaghy hearts.
Centuries from Kaushik Aphale and the brilliant Lewis helped Derriaghy to 282 for five in 50 overs, but that looked well short of par for the early part of Donemana’s chase.
Captain Ricky-Lee Dougherty and Gary McClintock were in no trouble whatsoever during a blistering second-wicket partnership of 117.
Dougherty brought up the Donemana century in just the 16th over, hitting three sixes in a single over from spinner Robert Cummins.
McClintock (39) was using his feet and crashing the seamers over the top and severe on anything short.
Derriaghy had done little wrong but there looked to be nothing they could do to halt the Donemana assault until the visitors pressed the self-destruct button against the slow bowlers.
Dougherty, who crashed 72 from just 62 balls, was bowled attempting a big shot off Curtis Moorhead while McClintock tried to clear the boundary off Wayne Hughes (2-50) and was caught at long-on.
The most important wicket of the lot went to Moorhead with Andy McBrine trapped lbw as he played back.
Andrew Riddles went soon after and when William McClintock holed out at square leg off Hughes, Donemana had gone from 122 for one to 133 for six in the space of five overs. Moorhead, one of a host of impressive Derriaghy youngsters, was the chief destroyer with three for 29.
Professional Jan Frylinck (34) and Dwayne McGerrigle briefly hinted at a revival but when they departed the game looked up for Donemana.
However, the McBrine brothers produced a sensational riposte, with Richie striking five fours and four sixes in a blistering 51.
The ninth-wicket partnership reached 73 and Donemana were suddenly favourites once again.
However, Richie went for one big shot too many and was caught off Lewis at cow corner.
The tension didn’t end there though as William (24) added 10 with last man Jordan McGonigle and Donemana were just 11 from victory with 15 balls remaining when the former was caught by Lewis running back at cover off Aphale.
That pair had earlier added 139 crucial runs. Aphale’s 112 from 125 balls contained nine fours and four sixes.
Lewis, for so long the best cricketer outside the NCU Premier League, was simply stunning, hitting eight fours and eight sixes in his 105 from just 55 balls.