After Saturday’s senior cup fayre the attention switched to the start of the North West T20’s on Sunday afternoon with seven games down for decision in the Faughan Valley/Eric Cooke competition.
Bonds Glen forfeited to Coleraine early on reducing that to six but there was still plenty of entertainment on view as the welcome sunshine brought spectators out around the grounds.
Up at Magheramason David Rankin only just missed out on back-to-back centuries over the weekend as he finished on an agonising 99 not out as Bready completely overwhelmed an under-strength St Johnston. The Irish international hit 10 fours and 3 sixes in his 64- ball knock, but couldn’t get the strike for the final delivery of the innings to reach the landmark.
Rankin shared an opening stand of 168 with Brian Crumley, who made 61 from 54 balls (4 fours, 1 six) as Bready ran up an imposing 190 for 1.
In reply St Johnston made no attempt to chase the total, opting only for some batting practice as they limped to 75 for 8 from their 20 overs, with Alan Macbeth top scoring with a fine 30.
Andy Lucas was best with the ball taking 4 for 14 as Bready tasted double cup success over the weekend.
Coleraine had been set to stage a double-header with the home side playing both the Bee Gees and Donemana but the latter game still went ahead despite Graham Boyd’s team’s forfeiture. And in keeping with their early season form the visitors laid down a real marker in the first clash of the season between two genuine heavyweights.
Roshen Silva may have taken 7 wickets on Saturday but the Sri Lankan remains a batsman first and foremost and he played the anchor role in this one. Silva only managed 3 boundaries in his 51 but that, along with 27 not out from David Cooke and 25 from Tim Chopra helped the home side to a modest 120 for 4 from their 20 overs.
Jordan McGonigle (2-15 from 4) was the pick of the Tyrone side’s attack but it was their batsmen who stamped their authority all over the contest with a winning reply.
Openers William McClintock (41- 6 fours and 2 sixes) and Ricky-Lee Dougherty (40*) set the tone with some aggressive stroke-play as Jan Frylinck (22*) closed out an emphatic 8-wicket win with the best part of 4 overs to spare.
There were double-headers at Brigade and Strabane too with a much better start from the Beechgrove boys this season after they fluffed their lines in the Group stages 12 months ago.
First up was Ballyspallen but it was to be something of a non-event as the Roe Valley team were bowled out for 77. Stephen Kennedy (19) and Graeme Kennedy (18) were best with the bat while there were 3 wickets for Jonny Robinson and 2 apiece for Ryan Macbeth, Iftikhar Hussain and Graeme Moore.
Danza Hyatt with an unbeaten 51 (4 fours, 2 sixes) ensured that the home side started their day with an 8-wicket win.
Next up was Glendermott, the side vanquished just 24 hours earlier in the Bank of Ireland senior cup, and although it was a slightly better showing from the Rectory outfit, it was still ultimately another defeat.
Brigade batted first this time but it was West Indian, Hyatt, that again had the telling say. The all-rounder made another unbeaten half century here- 83 not out this time- as the hosts racked up 174 for 6. Skipper Britton added 33 and Saturday’s centurion, David Barr, chipped in with 26, while Stuart Cochrane (2-22) was best with the ball.
Glendermott were never really in the hunt to be honest and although Dean Curry (27), skipper Alan Johnson (22) and Jack Glenn (21) all got starts, they were well beaten in the end.
Britton, Hussain and Macbeth all claimed a brace apiece as Brigade were 56 runs too strong and recorded their third win of an impressive weekend.
There were a couple of games at Strabane Park as well but it was a case of knit one, perm one for the Red Caps.
For the second time in as many days Ryan Gallagher’s troops were too strong for Burndennett; claiming a 70-run win over their neighbours in this latest encounter. Aaron Gillespie- man-of-the-match in Saturday’s cup win was again in the thick of the action as he made an excellent 50, aided by 36 from overseas man Kevin Pretorious (36) and Barry Scott (32).
A final total of 168 for 5 always looked beyond the visitors and so it proved. Despite Mark Doherty making 40 at the top of the order there just wasn’t enough quality around him to close the gap as Burndennett closed on 98.
Ardmore however were to prove an altogether tougher nut to crack in the second match as Marlo Jardine announced himself to the North West. Kevin Pretorius was in good nick here with an impressive 63, while Aaron Gillespie was again among the runs as he made 47- that despite the home side losing Peter Gillespie and Ryan Gallagher without a run on the board.
Jardine (4-10) did the bulk of the damage after Gary Neely and Stephen Dunn had claimed 2 wickets apiece and the South African then impressed with the bat in Ardmore’s reply. An unbeaten 53 was enough to seal an impressive 7-wicket win as the Bleachgreen team gave themselves every chance of topping the group from here.