On Saturday Coleraine 1st XI travelled to the Rectory to play Glendermott.
The hosts had caused a major upset in the first game of the season by defeating the much-fancied Brigade and had high hopes of emulating this performance against Coleraine.
After winning the toss, Glendermott chose to bat, but were soon under pressure from Coleraine’s bowlers. By the end of the fifth over the home side’s three opening batsmen were all back in the pavilion with only 14 runs on the board – with two wickets for Jarred Barnes and one for Gareth Burns. The introduction of Gordon Cooke and Roy Silva provided no respite for the batsmen, with Cooke conceding only 9 runs off his 6 overs and Silva claiming the wicket of the dangerous Alan Johnston.
With the score on 62 for 4 captain David Cooke turned to the “spin twins” of Scott Campbell and Rishi Chopra and together the teenagers maintained Coleraine’s stranglehold on the game. Campbell claimed two wickets and Chopra three – with the eighth and ninth wickets falling in successive balls. With Barnes returning for a second spell and taking his third wicket, Glendermott succumbed for a total of 112 runs off 29.5 overs. The bowling performance also showcased Coleraine’s fielding skills – with two of the wickets being “caught and bowled” and no fewer than six different fielders taking catches.
In response, the centurion from the first week of the season, Niall McDonnell, signalled his intention to carry on where he had left off. All the Glendermott bowlers suffered as McDonnell and his opening partner, Scott Campbell, took it in turns to dispatch any loose deliveries to the boundary, while at the same time displaying sharp running between the wickets.
With the score on 77, McDonnell and Campbell both fell in successive overs, but by then their efforts had guaranteed victory for Coleraine – the former with 40 runs off 46 balls and the latter with 3 fours and 1 six in his total of 32. David Cooke had replaced McDonnell at the crease, and when the overseas professional Roy Silva joined him, they required only 14 minutes to finish things off. Silva in particular was in devastating form, smashing 36 runs off 14 balls and wrapping the game up in style with three successive sixes to see Coleraine win by 8 wickets off just 19.5 overs.
While the first two games of the season have both resulted in very convincing wins for Coleraine, the team knows that Eglinton and Glendermott are not the strongest opposition they will face, and there is no room for complacency in what is a very competitive league. They will have to draw on all the strengths which they have displayed in the opening games if they are to maintain their position at the top of the league table, but there is a clear desire among the players to build on this excellent start to the season.
Glendermott 112 (29.5 overs, J Lynch 30*, R Chopra 3-20, J Barnes 3-23, S Campbell 2-26)
Coleraine 114-2 (19.5 overs, N McDonnell 40, R Silva 36*, S Campbell 32)
Next week they will have the chance to pit their skills against one of the strongest teams in Ireland – Merrion – who travel to Sandel Lodge for the first round of the Bob Kerr Senior Irish Cup. This promises to be an exciting game and everyone is encouraged to come along and support the team, with play starting at 12.30pm.