Coleraine defeat Bready in Intermediate Cup final
Coleraine Seconds snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the Intermediate Cup Final on Saturday after an epic encounter with Bready Fourths at Donemana.
Having been asked to make first use of the wicket Coleraine could hardly have got off to a worse start when they lost Clive Edgar to the third ball of the match thanks to a sharp piece of work by Norman Allen behind the stumps. Things were to get worse for them, however, as they found themselves 23/3 as Jordan and Trevor Austin got the ball to swing through the air and off the seam. Coleraine lost two more wickets just before the first drinks break to leave them staring down the barrel at 60/5.
With 28 overs still remaining the sixth wicket partnership of Neil Morrison and Bernard Findlay set about rebuilding the Coleraine innings. The pair rotated the strike well and took the score onto 99 before Findlay fell to an excellent yorker from Jordan Austin. Andrew Douglas proved himself more than capable partner for Morrison and was instrumental in seeing Jordan Austin out of the attack. The pair added a priceless 48 before Douglas’s stubborn resistance finally came to an end when he was bowled by Craig Allen.
With wickets and time running out Neil Morrison tried to push things on but was stumped by Norman Allen for a vital 62. All that was left was for Nigel Barr to provide the travelling Coleraine support with something to cheer about. The number 11 batsman cracked two cleanly-struck fours through mid-wicket to quadruple his run tally for the season as the Coleraine fans erupted. He was eventually bowled by Trevor Austin in the forty-eighth over as Coleraine finished on 170 all out. Craig Allen was the pick of the attack for Bready with 5 for 51, while Jordan and Trevor Austin also impressed with figures of 2-18 and 2-22 respectively. Norman Allen, who stood up to the stumps for the entire innings, also deserves a great deal of credit for taking three stumpings.
Bready had an equally shaky start with the bat as Coleraine’s new ball pairing of Andrew Douglas and Adam McIlwaine, had them reeling at 24/3 after 10 overs. However, a stubborn fourth wicket partnership of 59 between Jordan Austin and David Cowan helped to stabilize the Bready innings. However, when Jordan Austin and Alan Jeffrey fell in quick succession to leave Bready 96/5 after 36 overs Coleraine would have been eyeing up an unlikely first innings lead.
Ricky Spence had other ideas though, making his intentions clear by crashing his first ball straight back down the ground for four. He and David Cowan threatened to take the game away from Coleraine as they looked to dominate the Coleraine spinners. An excellent decision by Nigel Barr to bring Adam McIlwaine back into the attack immediately paid dividends as Ricky Spence crashed one down Davy Doey’s throat and the Coleraine vice-captain took a well judged catch on the deep mid-wicket boundary.
After brining up his fifty David Cowan stepped up a gear and powered Bready past the Coleraine total before he was dismissed for a fine 84 courtesy of a leaping catch by Stephen McCartney at backward point off the bowling of David Doey. Vishal Chopra picked up two wickets in his final over with sub-fielder Andrew Findlay taking a difficult catch on the boundary with nonchalant ease off the penultimate ball of the innings to give Bready a lead of 34.
With the forecast not looking good for Saturday the umpires were keen that Coleraine got their second innings underway on Friday evening. This meant that Coleraine’s opening batsmen had to negotiate a tricky period before the light faded. This proved to be a difficult task as Trevor and Jordan Austin once again got the ball to swing and nip around off the seam. Coleraine had the deficit of 34 wiped out before bad light brought a premature end to play, but not before they had lost three crucial top-order wickets.
Coleraine returned to the ground the next morning knowing that it would take something very special to turn the game around. Their task was made all the harder when they lost Peter Wallace LBW in the second over of the day. However, when Neil Morrison joined Stephen McCartney at the crease the two batsmen dug in and put on 71 for the fifth wicket. McCartney produced the shot of the match when he used his feet to come down the wicket and planted the ball over the fence at extra cover and into the adjacent burn. McCartney’s innings came to an end when he was clean bowled by Trevor Austin as he looked to give himself room to hit on the offside. Nevertheless, his invaluable innings of 40 was absolutely crucial in giving Coleraine a score to defend in the fourth innings of the match.
Following a quick clatter of wickets the Coleraine innings came to a premature end as they were bowled out for 145 leaving them the modest target of 111 runs to try and defend. The superb Trevor Austin with 5-25 was Coleraine’s nemesis with the ball.
Bready had a tricky fifty minute session to bat before tea and once again Coleraine’s young opening attack of Andrew Douglas and Adam McIlwaine bowled an immaculate line and length. When Trevor Austin played onto Andrew Douglas in a carbon copy of his dismissal in the first innings, Coleraine suddenly had the belief they needed to snatch an unlikely victory. Adam McIlwaine, who was whipping up a head of steam at the other end, then had Mark Rutherford caught by Stephen McCartney for 10. Andrew Douglas then conjured up two more wickets to leave Bready heading to tea with four wickets down and 87 runs still required for victory.
When Andrew Douglas produced a humdinger of a ball to bowl Norman Allen in his first over after tea, Coleraine suddenly found themselves in the driving seat. As he had done in the first innings, Ricky Spence came out and looked to be positive from the start. He pulled Adam McIlwaine for a four off his first ball but fell the very next ball when he was struck on the pad in front of the stumps.
Nigel Barr brought himself into the attack and proved unplayable as the ball started shooting through the surface. He collected two wickets, one of which came courtesy of a stunning reflex catch behind the stumps by Clive Edgar. Craig Allen’s stubborn resistance came to an end when Andrew Douglas had him fetching for one outside off stump and once again Stephen McCartney proved himself to be the perfect man to be under the high-pressure catch.
The game was to have one final twist, however, as Colin Crumley refused to go down without a fight. He hit Nigel Barr into the deep on the legside but despite a valiant attempt by Adam McIlwaine on the boundary he could not prevent a six. In the next over Crumley went after Andrew Douglas, striking two clean hits straight down the ground for six to bring Bready within 28 runs of victory. Andrew Douglas stuck to his guns, however, and fired down a full delivery the very next ball which Crumley deflected onto his stumps to spark wild celebrations amongst the Coleraine players and their supporters.
At the awards presentation after the game the umpires awarded the Man-of-the-Match award to Andrew Douglas for his 3-31 in the first innings and 6-31 in the second innings to give him the outstanding match analysis of 19.4 overs, 6 maidens, 9 wickets for only 62 runs. Nigel Barr was then presented with the trophy by Ireland Under 15 coach Noel Dunn. The Coleraine captain offered his commiserations to Bready at having to lose such a close contest. He also paid tribute to his own players, “the character of his side has brought us through games we never should have won this season and I think everyone will agree that the young talent we have coming through our club augers well for the future.”
Coleraine 170 all out. (N Morrison 62, C Allen 5-51)
Bready 204 all out. (D Cowan 84, A Douglas 3-31)
Coleraine 145 all out. (S McCartney 40, T Austin 5-25)
Bready 84 all out. (C Crumley 28, A Douglas 6-31)