Ulster Cup round up 2
The sun hung around long enough that all the first round ties in this year's ClubTurf Ulster cup were completed on schedule but much in the same way as local sides gave up the numerical advantage at the first stage of the Bob Kerr equivalent so it was to be here as just three of the North West's eight live to fight another day.
Champions Brigade got the first one on the board despite making heavy weather of beating Carrickfergus, the home side having looked on course for an emphatic win on more than one occasion during the afternoon.
Jamie Holmes and Jordan McClurken gave the visitors a reasonable start making 27 apiece before a middle order collapse saw them reeled back by the North West title holders. From 73 for 1 the NCU side found themselves 98 for 8, the middle17 overs yielding just 25 runs as wickets tumbled freely. Regular 2nd XI opener Ivan Walker batting at Number 10 here joined stand-in skipper Ryan Eagleson in an unbroken 65-run stand for the 9th wicket as Carrick's innings eventually closed on 163 for 8.
Trevor Britton with 3 for 14 was easily the pick of the Brigade attack while Harry Chappell injured a hand in just his second over that ruled him out of a third but the Englishman still collected 2 for 7.
Having looked likely to be bowled out for less than 100 the visitors probably wished they had when Mattie Moran and Gareth McKeegan tore into the reply.
Moran can be destructive in the opening power-play and knows only one way to bat and more often than not it has been coming off for him this season. After 10 overs the Beechgrove side were 101-0 but when McKeegan was bowled by Kernoghan for 33 the Waterside men lost their way.
Moran was doing what he does at one end but one by one his team-mates offered a selection of pretty poor shots, obviously of the mind that the game was already done. You could sense the anxiety among the home support when Moran shouldered arms to one that nipped back and caught him flat footed; 8 fours and 4 sixes in his excellent 72 but Brigade were still 20 runs short by then and with just 3 wickets left.
The injured Chappell joined skipper Mark Simpson at that stage and despite being in obvious discomfort Chappell was able to stick with his captain and close out a narrow win. Brigade made this much more difficult than it might have been but Carrick would have headed back over the Glenshane on Saturday evening thinking another 25 runs might have been plenty.
Donemana made it through too as the Holm men continued their superb start to the season with a facile win over Lisburn. There were a few familiar faces in the visitors' line up here and two of them, former Fox Lodge professional Darryl Brown and ex- Bready player Robert Rankin posted an 88-run third wicket stand that helped their side towards a sporting total.
Brown thumped 10 fours and 2 sixes in his 65 while Rankin made 30 and a hard-hitting 64 not out from David Simpson down the order helped Lisburn to 240 for 7 in their 40 overs. Andy McBrine went for 44 in his 4 overs but he also picked up 4 wickets and the Ireland under-19 player then took up the challenge with the bat as Donemana set off in chase.
Professional Kamran Sajid was in commanding form at the top of the hosts' order and despite losing Ryan Hunter and Ricky-Lee Dougherty fairly cheaply, the Pakistani was joined by McBrine the younger to put their side in total command.
Sajid hit 14 fours and 2 sixes in an unbeaten 107 from 93 balls faced while his partner hit 6 fours and 3 sixes as he made 68 not out in another big win for Richard Kee's side.
Limavady's unconvincing start to the season continued when they came up just short in a high-scoring game at Comber.
The hosts batted first but the early impetus was with the North West side as two wickets from skipper Andrew Riddles and one from Andy Britton kept them in check. Unfortunately for the Roesiders however that was to be as good as it got as the NCU side's professional Gayan Wijekoon then set about batting them out of the game with some superb stroke-play.
The Sri Lankan found willing partners in first Ally Shields and then Peter Eakin and it was fitting that he brought up the 300 for North Down with the last ball of the 40 overs, Wijekoon's share an impressive unbeaten 131.
Limavady's reply began at a pace, skipper Riddles and Ricky McDaid flying out of the traps and Zeeshan Malik joining in when Riddles departed and at 130 for 1 they were back in it. Eakin and Wijekoon hadn't finished however and the pair then chipped in with a couple of vital wickets that were to swings things back their way. Dean Curry resisted manfully with 48 but Limavady looked off the pace from then on and eventually finished 40 runs adrift.
Glendermott bowed out as well but only after a battling performance against a well-touted Instonians at Shaw's Bridge. Early wickets for Charlie Elder and Alan Johnston had the hosts wobbling on 54 for 3 before Ben Wylie and Eugene Moleon chipped in to put a more respectable look on the board.
Even then however the Bonds Street men had their noses in front and when professional Roy Silva and skipper Gordon Montgomery added two wickets apiece to wrap up the innings, the home side had only 164 to defend as a shock looked on the cards.
The hopes were soon in tatters however as Simon Killen and skipper Montgomery fell to Shannon and Moleon's respective first overs and Bob Robinson was frustratingly run out to leave the reply 3 for 3.
Silva rallied to make 31 but in truth Glendermott needed 30 more from him to have a chance and although Charlie Elder was defiant at the end the class told and Instonians went through.
Make no mistake that this was a really good effort from Glendermott, especially with the ball and they are showing signs of sparking back into life.