DESPITE the weather trying its best to take this year's Northern Bank North West Senior Cup final into a third day, persistence finally paid off as Brigade eased to a comfortable 97 run success over Strabane, in front of a decent crowd at Eglinton on Saturday evening.
The Waterside men had Chris Dougherty to thank for taking a 20-run lead into their second innings having made 268 for 7 wickets in their 50 overs, in fact the ex-Ireland underage international top scored with 65 runs, with his opening partnership stand with Niall McDonnell, earning Brigade 127 runs.
McDonnell himself scored 51, while Johnny Thompson also did well with the bat hitting a quick-fire 36. As for Strabane’s bowling attack in the first innings Ryan Gallagher, Mark Gillespie and Martin Deans all had two wickets each.
The Tyrone men had a centurion in their side with former Ireland international Peter Gillespie hitting an impressive 103 runs, with his brother Mark also doing well with the bat scoring 65 runs, in their 248 for 8 first innings.
The impressive Dougherty scored 83 runs in Brigade’s second innings and man of the match Gareth McKeegan also performed well with the bat scoring 53, while Iftikhar Hussain (50) and Mattie Moran (40 not out) played their part as Brigade, set Strabane the massive total of 291 runs to win.
The early loss of Ryan Gallagher who was caught in the attacking slip cordon by Trevor Britton in Johnny Thompson’s first over, certainly didn’t help the situation, then in the sixth over Brigade skipper Mark Simpson bowled professional Jonathan Beukes, the South Africian inexplicably left the ball and it knocked over his off stump.
Peter Gillespie was the man responsible for getting Strabane back into the game in the first innings but it wasn’t to be a double as he fell to an excellent catch by McDonnell having made 21 and the curtain started to fall soon after when Mark went in the exact same fashion for just 3.
That left the scoreboard reading 72 for 4 by which stage 291 was a million miles away. Andy Lynch managed a few lofty blows before being stumped off the bowling of Trevor Britton and the former Bready man repeated the dose later in the over to get rid of Ciaran Patton.
At 107 for 6 the ribbons were going on the cup and despite Kevin Martin making an excellent 82, with 9 fours and a six in there, the game petered out in a manner unbecoming of such a good couple of days.
The Man of the Match adjudicator Billy Henderson plumped for Gareth McKeegan ahead of Chris Dougherty, with worthy mentions also for Iftikhar Hussein, Kevin Martin and first innings centurion Peter Gillespie.
There should also be a special note of congratulations to the Eglinton ground staff who had a perfect wicket and outfield despite the terrible wet weather conditions, which fell throughout the North West all weekend.