T20 CRICKET: Coleraine ease out Eglinton to reach back-to-back finals

Twenty Twenty action form Coleraine and Eglinton
Twenty Twenty action form Coleraine and Eglinton

Holders Coleraine booked their place in the final of the Faughan Valley Twenty20 Cup after a comfortable 45-run win over Eglinton at Sandel Lodge on Thursday night.

The reigning North West champions will face Donemana in the final at Ardmore on Sunday, August 17.

Coleraine were indebted to two of their most experienced players as they batted first and posted a formidable 157 for three.

Niall McDonnell, the opening batsman, was the key man, carrying his bat for an unbeaten 75 from just 60 balls. The former Strabane and Brigade man struck nine boundaries with the unbeaten stand of 122 for the fourth wicket with David Cooke effectively taking the game out of Eglinton’s reach.

Coleraine were 65 for three in the eighth over when the pair came together. Professional Kylinn Vardhan, Paul Douglas and Scott Campbell had all departed.

At that stage Eglinton were right in the hunt but Cooke, who struck 46 not out from 40 balls, including five boundaries, was the perfect foil for McDonnell.

Eglinton required a breezy start with the bat to keep in with a realistic chance but Jarred Barnes, who conceded just 16 runs in his four overs, and Gareth Burns (1-28) didn’t let them out of the traps.

When Andy Christie was the first man to go in the sixth over the score was just 25 and the visitors were already well behind the rate. Stuart Thompson was their best hope of pulling off the chase and the Ireland international hit one four and two sixes on his way to a quickfire 22 from just 11 balls.

However, he was bowled by Vardhan in the ninth over and from there Eglinton’s effort rather fizzled out amid some tight Coleraine bowling. Wylie top scored with 27, but it took him 36 balls and they were well adrift on 113 for five after 20 overs.

Vardhan claimed three for 28 while captain Gordon Cooke bettered even Barnes for economy, as his four overs went for just 15.