Glorious sunshine greeted the start of the 2016 Bank of Ireland Senior Cup campaign and as with most years, matches went pretty much as expected with just about all of the paper favourites progressing to the quarter final stages.

There were several ties where it was difficult to pick a winner in the run-up to the games and nowhere more so than at the Holm, where Donemana put their 5-year unbeaten run in this competition on the line, and came away with their reputation if anything, enhanced.

Many pundits felt that a Decker Curry-inspired Ardmore would be a thorn in the holders side, however once Ricky-Lee Dougherty had won the toss and opted to bat first, there were few anxious moments for the Tyrone men thereafter.

It was fairly deliberate to begin with as Donemana “old boys” Gary Neely and Stephen Dunn got to grips with the hosts’ top order early before the batting side upped the ante. After losing their skipper for just 2 and Gary McClintock (21) the hosts began to turn the screw in the middle overs.

Tom Riddles and Andy McBrine added 67 for the 3rd wicket before Riddles departed for a lively 59 (8 fours and a six) but that just brought big brother, Andrew, to the middle and he and McBrine tucked into the Bleachgreen men’s attack. “Aggie”, who had been an Ardmore player for the past few seasons, hit 7 fours and a six as he added 51 while McBrine finally succumbed having thumped 11 fours and 2 sixes in his 79.

The Holm side were in the driving seat by then, however overseas man, Jan Frylinck was to rub salt in the visitors’ wounds with a 30-ball 66 that included 7 fours and 4 sixes. Neely (2-53) and Conor Brolly (2-88) fared best of the wicket-takers on a day when it was difficult to keep Dougherty’s team in check.

Paul McDowell was a real rock for Ardmore as they started their reply; however the opener looked on bemused as a host of wickets tumbled around him. There was to be no fairy-tale 99th century for Decker Curry on this occasion- indeed but for McDowell’s 50 (5 fours, 2 sixes) it was a fight that would have been stopped much earlier.

Kyle Dougherty (3-17) and McBrine again, (3-22) showed that it was possible to bowl on this pitch with an impressive display as Donemana sent out a real statement by lapping their Premiership opponents.

Last season’s runners-up, Eglinton, got a mild scare from Killyclooney before they too booked their place in the last 8 with a win over the Championship team. The villagers welcomed back Craig Averill and it was to be an 80-run stand between him (25) and Oraine Williams that got things moving for the home team.

Williams and Stuart Thompson (47) added 90 more for the third but when the West Indian was adjudged lbw for an excellent 95 (11 fours, 2 sixes), the wheels came off the wagon. Similar to what had happened them against Donemana in the league on opening day, Thompson’s team went from 172 for 2 to 227 all out as Darren Moan (4-22) did for the middle order.

‘Clooney’s reply started slowly before the Moan brothers dragged them back into the contest- Giles with 37 and Darren making 28 early on. The rest couldn’t muster enough to make a difference however with late cameos from William Finlay (20), Jordan Connor (19) and Mark Snodgrass (16) not enough to stave off defeat as Williams (3-26) and Andy Millar (3-28) saw Eglinton home by 63.

Brigade and Glendermott have served up some fizzing ties down through the years, but this, unfortunately wasn’t to be one of them. A commanding display by the home team’s top order was to put the tie out of Glendermott’s reach early on and there was only ever going to be one winner after that.

A superb century from David Barr who hit 11 fours and a six in his 116 set the standard for the day, with Danza Hyatt (46), Iftikhar Hussain (25) and Ryan Hunter (20) also chipping in as the Rectory team’s bowlers toiled in the heat. Worse was to come too as Beechgrove skipper, Andy Britton, blasted 3 fours and 6 sixes in a very rapid 76 that took Brigade above and beyond 300.

The chase never looked on at any point in truth; and there was little of note in the reply. Jack Glenn’s 20 was the best of it as Mark Simpson (3-23) did for the top order and Iftikhar Hussain (5-24) brushed aside the rest for an impressive 175-run winning margin.

The game between Bready and Fox Lodge was many people’s idea of a genuine “banana skin” and the margin of victory would indeed suggest there was little between them. The Ballymagorry men’s skipper, Brian Allen, has started this season at a rapid rate of knots and it was he that again led from the front as the visitors posted a competitive 231.

Allen anchored the innings with an unbeaten 71; allowing Marco Marais to shoot from the hip as the pair shared an 82-run stand for the 3rd wicket. The South African’s 54 was littered with boundaries (8 fours and a six) before another in-form player, Andrew McGinnis, added 36 down the order.

David Rankin (2-26), David Scanlon (2-33) and Gavin Wallace (2-41) were best with the ball for Bready; however it was to be Rankin’s contribution with the bat that was to seal the deal. The Ireland International looked in excellent touch as he shared a 117-run stand with Andrew Austin (39) for the first wicket.

Kyle Hamilton (32) kept the pressure firmly on the Foxies; however when Rankin was trapped lbw immediately after passing his hundred, old habits returned to the home ranks. From 170 for 2, Bready were left reeling on 223 for 8 and another 20 runs would have made this a different game.

Rankin’s “ton” was the difference; make no mistake about that, as Bready recorded a first win of the season.

Drummond also steered clear of a potentially tricky assignment as they beat Bonds Glen by 6 wickets. In-form skipper Graham Boyd made an entertaining 50 for the home side here (4 fours, 3 sixes) with Jonny Haslett (39) and Roy Robinson (20) also chipping in.

The spin of Steve Moore (4-24) proved too much for the Glen’s lower order however as they caved from 163 for 4 to 178 all out on a day when collapses seemed to be in vogue.

Kyle Morrow (65 not out), Ricky McDaid (45) and Adam McDaid (34) had more than enough about them however to ease the Premiership new boys into the hat for the quarter finals.

Peat Salmon was the difference between Newbuildings and Ballyspallen in the all-Championship tie as the Jamaican made a superb 153 at Foyle College Grounds. Salmon hit 12 fours and 9 sixes on his way to his big ton despite a sparkling effort from Graeme Kennedy (5-38) for the visitors.

A half century from Peter Allen allowed the home side to close on 302 all out before ‘Spallen too got in on the collapsing act. Ivan Hill-Nicholl (29)and Stephen Kennedy (17) had helped the Roe Valley side to 58-1 in reply before Dale Culbert (5-29) and Ross Hunter (2-17) lobbed in a grenade.

The last 9 wickets fell for the addition of just 38 runs to see Ballyspallen dismissed for 96 in the end- a defeat of some 206 runs as Newbuildings became the last man standing for second tier teams.

The last two games were very non-eventful as Roshen Siva- Coleraine’s quality top order batsman returned the stunning figures of 7-10 to show he is no mug with the ball either as they hammered St Johnston by 10 wickets. David Lapsley’s 44 was by some way the best of the Saints 89 all out, and the Bannsiders wasted little time in knocking those off.

Strabane easily accounted for Burndennett as well- Peter Gillespie with an unbeaten half century and his nephew Aaron with 5 wickets and an unbeaten 23 as the Red Caps made the quarter finals for the first time in a while.

The visitors needed a late unbeaten 20 from Jimmy Boyle to even lift them past the 100-mark but it would have mattered little in any case as Strabane never left first gear to record their 8-wicket victory.