Bright sunshine greeted umpires and captains on Friday morning at Eglinton and Gareth McKeegan won what looked likely to prove an important toss
The Brigade skipper opted to bat first and despite the damage caused to the pitch by vandals in the run-up to the game, the officials were more than happy to use the designated area for the game.
The village ground has a reputation for offering a bit of help to the bowlers earlier in the day and Brigade openers Mattie Moran and Ryan Hunter found it to their cost first up as they fell for very little. Ian McGregor dug in to try to see off the new ball however Junior McBrine put an end to his stay of 39 balls that yielded just 7 runs. Adam McDaid and Johnny Thompson took on the fight from there and this pair batted their team back into it, albeit very slowly. The 76-run partnership was broken only after McDaid’s patience snapped on 33 and while Thompson’s 46 was more aggressive, he was out soon after.
That brought skipper McKeegan and Andy Britton together in the middle and from there until the end of the first 50 overs, these two gave Brigade the edge. Britton was happy to play the anchor while McKeegan, who scored a century when the teams met in the 2012 final, went on the attack. Between them they added a priceless 101 runs in the last 10 overs after Brigade had only managed 125 in the first 40, McKeegan superb in his 83 while Andy McBrine was the pick of the Donemana attack.
Richard Kee would have been hoping for a good start from his top order in reply however he wasn’t to get it as Tom Riddles fell to the bang-in-form Mark Simpson straight away. Having looked in great touch, professional Kamran Sajid was next to go to leave Donemana 26-2 before Andy McBrine and Gary McClintock stopped the rot. McBrine, just 20 years old has been shaping like a player with an International future this season and with his 16-year old batting partner they set about repairing the damage. As was the pattern with the game to that point, both men perished in quick succession, but not before they had added 62 between them to the cause. Heavy rain set in at that point and play was abandoned for the day soon after with Donemana 125 for 5 and still 100 behind. That meant an early start on Saturday morning but with the Tyrone team hoping to draw alongside Brigade’s total on the resumption, the wheels came off instead. Ricky-Lee Dougherty (25) and Junior McBrine (17), the overnight batsmen had moved on to 140 for 5 before Brigade made the breakthrough, however the final 5 wickets yielded just 16 runs as the cup holders finished 72 adrift.