Donemana won’t have to think long and hard about the reasons for their demise in the North West Premiership title race.
In losing by 77 runs to leaders and title favourites Coleraine on Saturday, Richard Kee’s men slumped to their third remarkable batting collapse in the last four matches. On Saturday, they succumbed in the face of a seam-bowling barrage from Jarred Barnes and Graeme McCarter at Sandel Lodge, all out for just 55 chasing Coleraine’s modest 132 for nine.
Previously, Donemana had been dismissed for just 60 and 80 in the space of two days by Strabane and Brigade, themselves winners over Bready on Saturday.
With their hopes over it’s now a simple and mouth-watering equation for next Saturday at Brigade. A win for Coleraine and they are champions, but if Brigade are victorious the title will be decided in a play-off between the two.
It wasn’t exactly thrilling viewing at Sandel Lodge. Coleraine professional Kylinn Vardhan struck just two boundaries in his 30 from 80 balls and he was one of just three home batsmen to reach double figures on a testing pitch.
The other significant contributor was McCarter, the Ireland international hitting one four and three sixes in his 40 from 60 deliveries before he was ninth man out. Andy McBrine and Dwayne McGerrigle each took three wickets as spin dominated for the visitors.
Donemana knew they had to chase down the target to stay in the race but only Andy McBrine and tail-ender Jordan McGonigle seemed to have stomach for the fight. The Ireland all-rounder was a bemused spectator at one end as the visitors slumped to a barely credible 23 for seven.
Barnes (4-17) took the first three wickets and then McCarter (3-15) got in on the act by dismissing both Kee and McGerrigle for ducks.
McGonigle gave Andy McBrine some support, the eighth-wicket pair adding 27 before McGonigle finally succumbed, bowled by Gordon Cooke (3-10) for nine from 35 balls.
McBrine’s 90-minute vigil ended two overs later, in the same manner, gone for 14 and with him Donemana’s title hopes.
Brigade consigned Bready to the promotion-relegation play-off with a comfortable five-wicket win at Magheramason. Ireland internationals David Rankin (41) and Craig Young (52) made good contributions for the home side but a total of 153 all out never looked likely to trouble Brigade.
Iftikhar Hussain made a superb unbeaten 62, sharing in a 85-run stand for the fifth wicket with Matthew Gillespie that effectively settled the outcome.
Eglinton beat outgoing champions Strabane by six wickets. Strabane were dismissed for 142 as Craig Averill and Stuart Thompson took three wickets each. Andy Pierce hit an unbeaten 41 as Eglinton cruised home.