McBrine puts Donemana on verge of cup glory
The final throes of this season's Northern Bank senior cup final were interrupted by yet more bad weather yesterday with Donemana just 61 runs short of a convincing win against Brigade. To their credit the two combatants had served up a the makings of a thrilling contest with an excellent first day that ended with nothing between them before a combination of rain and poor batting saw the match slip away from the champions on Saturday evening. .
The teams lined up on Friday just about as had been expected with Graeme Boyd and William McBrine taking the places of Donemana's Irish under-19 absentees while Dale Culbert clinched the Brigade berth left vacant by skipper Mark Simpson. Iftikhar Hussain took over the Beechgrove side's reins and landed the first blow of the day in winning the toss and showing no hesitation in opting to bat first.
Gareth McKeegan benefited from some very ordinary fielding early on and after a shaky start the left hander grew in confidence, sharing in partnerships with Mattie Moran and Iftikhar Hussain before a solid stand with Harry Chappell set the champions on their way to a decent total. McKeegan went on to post a century that included 7 fours and 5 sixes before being run out and Englishman Chappell added a solid 42 at the other end as Brigade finished their 50 overs on 248 for 6. Kamran Sajid (2-44) and Junior McBrine (2-51) shared the bowling honours for the Holm side.
Donemana's reply began well with professional Sajid (61) and Graeme Boyd (26) putting on a century opening stand before Ricky-Lee Dougherty added some momentum with a fine 54 that included 3 fours and 4 sixes. Cameos from skipper Richard Kee (23) and Dwayne McGerrigle (20) kept the Holm side on course before an unbroken stand between twins James and Junior McBrine steered them to modest 7-run lead, the innings closing on 255 for 5. Johnny Thompson with 2 for 48 was the pick of the Beechgrove men's attack while Hussain, Trevor Britton and Dale Culbert chipped in with one apiece.
With the instruction to play until “light” the sides took the field again straight away from there but disaster struck for Brigade when McKeegan was unable to repeat his first innings heroics being caught behind off the bowling of Sajid for 12. Even more infuriating for the opener his dismissal was to be the last action of the day as fading light forced the teams off before new batsman Iftikhar Hussain had faced a ball. The Beechgrove side was 25 for 1 after 4 overs at that stage, a lead of 18 overall but the rains came early on Saturday morning to scupper hopes of a full day's play.
Action finally got under way on Day 2 after nearly five frustrating hours for players and spectators alike but the break seemed to affect the champions most as the McBrine twins used conditions superbly to give Donemana the advantage. Junior's first six overs cost a miserly six runs but his sibling was doing real damage at the other end capturing the prized wickets of Mattie Moran (19), Iftikhar Hussain (3) and crucially the in-form Johnny Thompson without scoring. That left the Beechgrove boys on 43 for 4, a lead of 36 and the constant rain interruptions certainly weren't helping their cause. Jordan McGonigle then picked up the wicket of Harry Chappell for 10 as Donemana smelled blood but James wasn't done and was soon back in the frame sending Trevor Britton back for 6. After a poor performance in the field on Friday there was no repeat this time, Dwayne McGarrigle in particular showing some of the younger members of the squad how to catch as he pouched three; Brigade seemingly finding him with monotonous regularity..Yet another rain break halted Donemana's progress at the halfway stage although thankfully this one lasted just 30 minutes and when they came back out the batting side were at least able to fend off James McBrine's final overs as he finished with 4 for 15.
Dean Curry and Chris Dixon showed great character to post a 40-run stand for the seventh wicket showing that batting wasn't impossible after all but once that was broken by William McBrine, 9, 10 and Jack resisted little. The final total was 110 meaning Donemana needed 104 to win the cup, the Beechgrove side surely disappointed to have folded so tamely second time around. James McBrine (4 for 15) and William McBrine (3 for 12) were the pick of the attack but to be fair they all bowled really well and despite William's youth, Donemana's combined experience was the difference between the teams.
Having waited all day to play, Richard Kee didn't seem to fancy to come back on Sunday and sent Ricky-Lee Dougherty in to open with Sajid. Brigade responded in kind and as the light began to fade two short ones from Johnny Thompson forced the umpires' hand. By that stage Dougherty and Sajid had strode to 43 for 0 from 10 overs to take Kee's side to the brink of victory but the evening had drawn in meaning that Sunday was now to be required.
For the record this was a final of firsts- Bready hosting the final for the first time ever and pulling out all the stops to ensure that the weekend was a huge organisational success despite the weather. It was also the first time a final has been played in coloured clothing and spectators will have their own ideas as to whether or not that added to the occasion. Finally it is also the only time that two sets of twins have played on the same senior cup final team- James and Junior have played in 23 between them but this was William and Gary McClintock's debut although unlikely to be their last.