The weather gods were much kinder to the North West cricket fraternity this weekend as the full schedule of games were completed on time at the start of another busy summer.
Donemana had taken advantage of being in the only match played to secure full points last weekend and the Tyrone side made it back-to-back wins when they were much too strong for Coleraine at the Holm on Saturday.
The visitors have been badly weakened by the loss of several key players and their batting frailties were there for all to see against Andrew Riddles’ side.
Taking first use, Coleraine could only muster 129 all out in the battle of the former champions, and it was telling that 75 of those came from opener, Scott Campbell.
The former Warriors player has a key role at his club this season given the loss of Marcus Poskitt to Brigade, and when you take his 75 runs out of that 129, it’s clear they will need him as much as possible.
Campbell clubbed 5 fours and 5 sixes in his innings, while Gary McCintock and Dwayne McGerrigle picked up three wickets apiece for the hosts.
Donemana had little trouble reaching the modest target, Dean Mehaffey making 47 and Graham Boyd an unbeaten 29, as they had seven wickets to spare at the winning line.
A full haul of points from their first two games of the campaign would indicate the Tyrone side have their sights set on a title charge this summer.
The same comment will likely apply to Brigade after they travelled to the Rectory and handed out a real pasting to the home side.
Gareth McKeegan hit 23 fours and 6 sixes on his way to a brilliant 162, the opener sharing in a 257 run stand for the second wicket with iftikhar Hussain.The latter also made an impressive century as Brigade piled on the runs while Glendermott’s bowling attack had no answer.
The visitors’ final tally was a huge 391-6 and the result was never in doubt.
Jason Lynch battled hard as he top scored with 57 in his side’s reply but in terms of an outcome, Glendermott never laid a glove on Brigade. Four wickets for Jonny Robinson and two apiece for Ross Allen and skipper Andy Britton saw to it that the Limavady Road side claimed maximum points with a huge 277-run verdict.
Ballyspallen, competing in the top flight off the back of their play-off win against Ardmore last season, also started with a good win.
Eglinton were Saturday’s visitors to Bridge Park, and with skipper Stuart Thompson missing due to International duty with Ireland, they were to come up just short. New overseas man Brendon Louw top scored with 47 for the home team as they posted a competitive 177 all out. Lee Ritchie picked up four wickets on his return to his former stomping ground and the ‘Villagers’ would have fancied their chances at halfway.
Obviously Thompson’s absence meant a lot was going to depend on overseas man, Mike Erlank, and the South African certainly gave his team a chance as he made 58 in the reply.
Jamie Miller added 32 and Scott Adair 27 as Eglinton took a hold on the contest, however they simply didn’t have enough depth in the lower order to get over the line.
The ‘Villagers’ lost their last seven wickets for the addition of just 24 runs to be all out for 153, as Jamie Millar, with three wickets, and Mark Averill, Graham Kennedy and Johnny Martin adding two apiece, steered their side to a welcome win.
In the top-flight’s final game, champions Bready got their defence off to a winning start with a narrow victory over Strabane. Irish Samarasooriya top scored for the home team with 79 and that effort was backed up by knocks of 47 from David Rankin and 39 from debutante, Marcus Poskitt.
Bready’s 264-8 looked plenty but the Red Caps weren’t going down without a fight. Kevin Gallagher and Rhys Logue gave them a solid start before Ryan Gallagher and overseas man Chathura Peiris combined to put their side very firmly in the driving seat.
Half centuries from that duo took Strabane to 203-3 in reply, but they weren’t able to dig out the 60 runs needed from there.
Rankin (4-42) was best with the ball for the home side, but the game changed in one Conor Olphert over when the visitors lost both set batsmen - Peiris for 69 and Gallagher for 64.
Strabane’s lower order just didn’t have enough about it to grind out the rest of the runs and came up short in an entertaining contest.
There was no Championship action on Saturday as second tier sides contested the first round of this season’s Sammy Jeffrey Shield.
A brilliant Peet Pienaar century was the catalyst for Ardmore to easily see off Bonds Glen, while there were somewhat surprising wins for Burndennett, who beat killyclooney, and Newbuildings, who ended Fox Lodge’s interest in the competition.
That trio of winners will be joined in the semi-finals by St Johnston who were handed a bye following Drummond’s withdrawal from the league.
The Derry Midweek’s Sam McConnell Charity Day was held at the Rectory on Sunday and there were wins here for Ballyspallen who beat Newbuildings in game one, and then Brigade who saw off Bready in the other final.
The first match went down to the last over with Stephen Kennedy proving to be ‘Spallen’s hero as he made an unbeaten half-century to nudge them to a five wicket win.
Brigade’s bowling was too strong for Davy Scanlon’s team in the second decider, Bready making just 78 as Brigade coasted to a nine wicket win.