A true test of a team’s credentials comes in the really big matches.
Strabane and holders Donemana locked horns in a pivotal Danske North West Senior Cup quarter-final on Saturday and in reality only one team ever looked like winning.
Donemana don’t give up trophies lightly and they completed a miserable week for the home side with a 83-run demolition.
In theory a target of 190 shouldn’t have been out of Strabane’s reach, but just as they did six days earlier in an ignominious Irish Cup exit to St Johnstone, their batting collapsed spectacularly.
Gary McClintock (3-22) started their demise with a stunning burst that had Strabane reeling on nine for three. Matthew Bentley was bowled and Ryan Gallagher and Peter Gillespie caught behind. Between them, the three players had scored four runs.
A fourth-wicket stand between Kevin Martin and the impressive youngster Aaron Gillespie briefly hinted at revival but Andy McBrine (3-32) trapped Martin lbw and the Ireland international soon landed another blow, taking a caught and bowled chance off professional Tawanda Mupariwa. With Mark Gillespie falling to Jordan McGonigle (2-14) for just a single, it wasn’t so much a question of if Donemana would make the last four, but when.
Aatron Gillespie eventually fell for 41 and Strabane failed to use 15 overs as they were dismissed for just 106.
Earlier Stephen Wallace, Donemana’s pre-season signing, underlined his quality by top scoring with 65.
The opening stand with Thomas Riddles (25) was 42 and after a second-wicket partnership of 59 with Kamran Sajid (24), Donemana were in command on 101 for one and later 137 for two.
However, Gallagher took three for 42 and Johnny Robinson three for eight as Donemana lost their last eight wickets for 50 and their last four for just seven. At that stage Strabane looked to have the momentum but it’s always dangerous to bet against Donemana.
Coleraine, who Donemana beat in last year’s semi-final, are also in the last four after defeating Championship Glendermott with the minimum of fuss at Sandel Lodge.
Gordon Cooke talked in pre-season about the potential of young spinner Varun Chopra and the 14-year-old made the headlines with stunning figures of five for 19. Coleraine were defending a total of 207 for six and they were already on top before Chopra came into the attack. He claimed the prize scalp of Roy Silva, the Sri Lankan professional who spent last year at Sandel Lodge, after he had struck 26 from 27 balls,
Silva was the only Glendermott batsman to reach double figures and they were dismissed for 86 with Gareth Burns and Kylinn Vardhan also taking two wickets apiece.
Earlier Niall McDonnell and Scott Campbell, the Coleraine openers, made 45 apiece, with Vardhan (29), David Cooke (39) and Johnny Ring (29) making solid contributions.
The Bannsiders never reached the big total they might have expected against Championship opposition but it was comfortable in the end.