CRICKET: Ballyspallen skipper upbeat despite NW Senior cup loss

Ballyspallen captain Lee Ritchie.
Ballyspallen captain Lee Ritchie.

Lee Ritchie’s senior cup final experience may have ended in a sizeable defeat against Donemana at the weekend but the Ballyspallen skipper said that his side would take “loads of positives” from the two days.

With a promotion run-in to come in the league and a Sam Jeffrey semi-final at Bonds Glen also on the agenda, Ritchie said he expected his side to build on the events of last weekend.

I honestly believe this experience has made us stronger as a unit and that we can use the benefits of that to help us through to what will be a tough run-in.

Lee Ritchie

“We put Donemana in to bat in the senior cup final and we had them 71-5; very few Premiership sides have done that to them this season” said Ritchie (pictured right).

“I know there were a lot of raised eyebrows when we did that but the thinking was quite simple.

“Firstly, we are happy to chase and have been putting teams in all season so I saw no reason to change that just because we were playing Donemana.

“Also, it was a first cup final for a lot of our team against a side who are well used to this so it was only reasonable to expect a few nerves early on. I thought it would be better to be nervous in the field than when batting.

“The one negative for us was that we didn’t do ourselves justice with the bat and despite faring OK on the first day overall, we were disappointed leaving Beechgrove on Friday night.

“We re-grouped ahead of the second innings and felt if we kept them to 220 on Saturday we’d still have a chance but it wasn’t to be.

“We scored less on the second day but we opted to give it a go rather than try to just play for pride so there was always a danger that might happen.

“For those first ten overs of the fourth innings we looked in decent shape but then the spinners turned the screw.

“They have plenty of quality and Junior was excellent for them but we can be proud of the part we played in the final.

“It has been a fantastic experience for the club and is a real reward for all the hard work that has gone on, but we know that it will count for nothing if we don’t build on it.

“I honestly believe this experience has made us stronger as a unit and that we can use the benefits of that to help us through to what will be a tough run-in.

“We certainly don’t intend to sit around feeling sorry for ourselves.

“We had Donemana rattled for a long time on the first day and but for a below-par effort with the bat late on- it could have got very interesting.

“I don’t think we’re finished this season just yet as we still have a lot to play for.” said the ex-Eglinton man.