NW Cricket: ​Saints leave Brigade title hopes hanging!

​Ardmore were handed a very timely boost in their quest for a first ever North West senior title on Sunday as St. Johnston stunned Brigade with a dramatic two run win at the Boathole.
Brigade Seconds celebrate a dramatic title win on SaturdayBrigade Seconds celebrate a dramatic title win on Saturday
Brigade Seconds celebrate a dramatic title win on Saturday

It's a result that means the Bleachgreen side realistically have to win one of their two remaining games and pick up a few bonus points along the way to get their hands on the senior league trophy.

On the flip side, it's a desperately frustrating result for Andy Britton's men who, it must be remembered, lost out by one run to Newbuildings last weekend.

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In all honesty, the Brigade captain will know they were masters of their own downfall. Having been up with the pace throughout, the visitors needed just four runs to win with four wickets in hand at the start of the final over. Britton took a single off Nathan Cole's first ball, but Haydyn Melly could only keep the next two deliveries out and was then smartly caught behind by Jack Macbeth off the fourth.

St Johnston's Michael Rankin bowling in Sunday's win over BrigadeSt Johnston's Michael Rankin bowling in Sunday's win over Brigade
St Johnston's Michael Rankin bowling in Sunday's win over Brigade

That meant three needed off two but worse was to follow as the skipper tried a quick single to get himself back on strike and was run out for a battling 48.

All eyes were now on Nick Gray who was left to face the last ball needing three, but the impressive Cole removed any doubt about the outcome by knocking back the Brigade man's centre stump.

The Saints' innings was anchored by a superb 79 from David Lapsley (10 fours, 2 sixes), coupled with a blustery 45 from David Anthony (2 fours, 5 sixes). That helped them recover from a precarious 42-5 to post 188-8 in their 40 overs; Josh Wilson (3-26) and David Barr (2-40) the most successful of the bowlers.

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The Saints bowled really well and Brigade were reduced to 36-3 as Cole (3-24) and Michael Rankin (2-29) were on the mark early. Ryan Macbeth made 41 and Scott Macbeth 21, while Britton almost rescued the title contenders before the final over twist.

Glendermott's Jake Montgomery is bowled by Bready's Ian Young on Saturday.Glendermott's Jake Montgomery is bowled by Bready's Ian Young on Saturday.
Glendermott's Jake Montgomery is bowled by Bready's Ian Young on Saturday.

There was another cut and thrust contest at Ballymagorry where Fox Lodge knew that anything other than a win over Coleraine would see them drop into the Championship.

The home side got off to a flyer as TJ Nicholl (56) and Gayan Maneeshan (38) put on 87 for the first wicket. Brian Allen added 42, Craig Doherty 24, Dean McCarter 19 and Michael Walker 14, but wickets fell steadily after the opening stand with Ravi Karunaratne, Scott Campbell, Matthew Hutchinson and James Bell all picking up two.

A final total of 235-9 looked very competitive but not impossible and the Bannsiders went off in chase in confident mood. Marcus Poskitt and Matty Smyth (20) put on 47 for the first wicket with Poskitt and Scott Campbell (27) adding 49 more.

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The opener and Karunaratne got Coleraine to 148 before Jason Milligan took a hand, the Foxes' all-rounder picking up the big wickets of the Sri Lankan for 16, skipper Matthew Hutchinson without scoring and then Stephen Hutchinson for 26.

All the while, Poskitt was in magnificent form at the other end, however he was forced to watch on as a procession of batters came and went. In the end, the job proved just a fraction too much, but not before he had hit 10 fours and 8 sixes in his brilliant 125.

The final total was 226 all out but the one silver lining was that Poskitt's efforts weren't entirely in vain, the five bonus points ensuring Coleraine go into the final game of the season with a six point buffer.

That means Fox Lodge now have to beat title-chasing Ardmore in their final match and hope St. Johnston have one more big performance in them as they host Coleraine on the final day.

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Donemana moved up to fifth with a 32-run win at Newbuildings courtesy of a solid batting performance. Levi Dougherty made 50 not out, DJ Dougherty 37, Gary McClintock 31, Ricky-Lee Dougherty 30 and William McBrine 20 in a total of 237-9.

Trent McKeegan, Johnny Thompson and Jason Dunn picked up two wickets apiece for the hosts, with the latter pair both contributing well with the bat also. Thompson hit 53 (10 fours and a six) while 'Bull' added 40, along with 44 from Mark Hanna and 32 from Ryan Hunter in a reply of 205.

Gary Neely (3-42) bowled well for Donemana with Dwayne McGerrigle and Jordan McGonigle also chipping in for a valuable victory.

The final game saw Strabane also close their campaign with a win ,edging out Bonds Glen by 15 runs. This one saw a brief return to action for former Irish International Peter Gillespie who clearly answered an SOS call from the Red Caps.

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Skipper Nasir Nawar made 50 and Kevin Gallagher 44 in an 88-run opening stand with Peter chipping in with 18 and Mark McNulty 17 in a total of 158 all out.

Sam Kincaid, Raymond Curry and David Cooke all claimed three wickets apiece for the Bee Gees, who couldn't quite keep pace in reply.

Curry top scored with 25 with John Long adding 20 and Matty Barr 19, but two wickets each for Aaron Gillespie and Usman Azhar - who conceded just 42 runs from their combined 16 overs - saw the visitors restricted to 143-7.

On Saturday, Ardmore ended Killyclooney's title chances with a 7-wicket win in a top-of-the-table battle at the Tyrone venue.

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The home side were certainly feeling the 'post-Blayde blues' as they were bowled out for just 83 by the new league leaders, Cody Mehaffey's 18 and 16 from Jordan Nelson the best of their modest total.

Muhammad Edrees was the pick of Ardmore's bowlers with 5-15; support coming from Conor Brolly (3-18) and Harry Zimmermann (2-12).

The visitors wasted little time in knocking off the required runs as Rachit Gaur made 25 and Zimmermann 18 not out in a very comfortable success.

With Brigade not playing until Sunday, Bready took the opportunity to move into third as they finished their 2023 season with an 8-wicket home win over Glendermott.

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Alan Johnson's 25 was the highlight of the Rectory outfit's 96 all out, as Nathan McCombe took three wickets in four balls for figures of 4-5.

Gavin Roulston chipped in with 2-27 while Kyle Magee's unbeaten 54 saw Bready stroll to the points.

Potentially the biggest story of the day was Burndennett's 5-wicket win at Fox Lodge. The visitors had failed to record a victory in any of their 13 league games to date, but produced a stunning display to finally get that 'W' in their last outing of the summer.

Half centuries from Craig Doherty (52 including 6 sixes and 2 fours) and Brian Allen (51), along with 35 from Gayan Maneeshan and 18* from skipper Aaron Heywood, saw the hosts set 199-8.

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Mark Pollock, Derek Curry and Andy Barr all claimed two wickets, but for once the 'Dennett's batting wasn't found wanting. Pollock hit an even-time 74 (7 fours, 2 sixes) with Niall McDonnell (36 not out), Corey Roulston (35) and Barr (21) combining to frustrate the Foxes' attack.

A big win for Conan Pollock's team this, but an awful defeat for Fox Lodge who absolutely have to beat Coleraine on Sunday to keep their Premier Division hopes alive.

The Bannsiders saw to their business on Saturday with a 71-run victory over Ballyspallen. Ravi Karunaratne's 79 and 27 from Matty Smyth were the highlights of the home side's 161 all out.

Stuart Kennedy (3-24), Zeeshan Malik (2-31) and Clive Rodgers (2-34) fared best of 'Spallen's attack, but only Malik (49) offered much resistance in a reply of 90 all out.

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Ravi added figures of 4-19 with Dawood Khan claiming 2-1 and James Bell 2-16 as Coleraine warmed up for Sunday's big clash with a solid performance.

Eglinton's second half of the season form has seen them race safely into the top eight and the villagers were involved in an incredible finish at St. Johnston.

Chasing a fairly modest 129, Tommy Orr's side found themselves reduced to 87-9 before an unbroken 46-run last wicket stand between Jamie Millar and Dylan Young saw them just over the line.

Millar hit 6 fours and 4 sixes in his excellent 70 not out but credit his partner too as he faced 27 deliveries for his single run to hold down an end.

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Graeme McCarter's 5-19 and 3-13 from Michael Rankin seemed to have set the Saints on their way to another win after David Anthony (43) and Ian Macbeth (22) topped the batting card.

Millar had earlier claimed 3-31 with Josh Martin, Mark Averill and Mattie Mills all adding two wickets apiece to keep the Donegal side at arm's length. However it was all about the last wicket stand as Eglinton put themselves in a great position to qualify for next year's top flight.

Newbuildings are all but there too after a very comfortable 8-wicket win at home to Bonds Glen. An unbroken third wicket stand of 115 between Jason Dunn (68*) and Ryan Hunter (57*) proved to be plenty as the hosts chased down the Bee Gees' 132.

David Cooke made 51 and Raymond Curry 32 with 'Bull' helping himself to 4-21, Ross Hunter 3-19 and Charlie Downey 2-20 in an impressive win.

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Donemana have edged closer as well, after the McBrine brothers inspired a spectacular collapse by Strabane's batting order at the Holm.

An excellent effort from Aaron Gillespie, who made 81 (8 fours, 5 sixes) and 35 from Kevin Gallagher (35) saw the Red Caps reach 122-2 batting first.

The introduction of William (5-25) and Andy (3-11) turned the game on its head after that however, and once they got Gillespie, the deck folded in double quick time with just seven more runs added in a total of 129 all out.

The Irish International was among the runs as well, McBrine's 47 with 33* from William McClintock and 30 from Gary seeing them post a six wicket success that saw them cement their Premier Division status on Sunday.