Coleraine Firsts progress to NW Cup semis

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On Sunday, Coleraine 1st XI progressed to the semi final of the North West Senior Cup with an emphatic 86 run win over Limavady.

The match was the only North West Senior fixture to survive Friday’s monsoon-like conditions – thanks to the outstanding work carried out by Coleraine’s grounds staff to prepare for the game.

With a damp and soft wicket, Limavady gained the early advantage by winning the toss and putting Coleraine in to bat. In spite of the challenging batting conditions, Scott Campbell and Chinthaka Jayasinghe (pictured above) combined to construct an important 45-run partnership for the second wicket. When Campbell’s wicket fell, with the score on 65, he was replaced by Craig Averill who, while playing watchfully and sensibly, still managed to score at a good pace.

His approach complemented Jayasinghe’s more aggressive style, and they had taken the score to 139 before Averill was bowled by Decker Curry. Two overs later he was followed by Jayasinghe who had made 73, and although David Cooke finished 18 not out, none of the remaining Coleraine batsmen were able to make it into double figures. The last wicket fell in the 48th over, with the total on 183, leaving seasoned observers feeling that this was possibly 20–30 runs short of a winning score.

When Coleraine took to the field, the home side’s desire to win was clear for all to see. The first ball of the innings was struck powerfully by Limavady’s talisman, Decker Curry, but an excellent pick-up and throw-in by Johnny Martin, combined with the quick reactions of wicket keeper David Cooke, saw Curry run out, with just one run on the board. Then, in the second over, a stunning one handed low catch by Cooke, off the bowling of Gareth Burns accounted for Limavady’s captain, Andrew Riddles, while Stevie Dunn maintained the pressure with his trademark accurate and economical bowling, claiming two wickets, including that of the dangerous Stuart Thompson.

Limavady’s professional Zeeshan Malik offered some resistance, but when he was bowled by Johnny Martin, the writing was on the wall for the visitors. With one wicket each for Jayasinghe and Rishi Chopra and three for Scott Campbell, Coleraine secured the victory by dismissing Limavady for just 97 runs in 37.1 overs.

Coleraine’s bowlers received excellent support from their teammates in the field, and the fact that Limavady’s experienced batting line–up struggled to make runs, proved in retrospect how well Coleraine’s batsmen had performed. This was an important boost for the confidence of this developing team – not only have they reached the semi final of North West cricket’s blue riband tournament, but they have done so at the expense of a team which has beaten Coleraine at every previous encounter in recent years.

The Bannsiders will now play the winners of St Johnston and Brigade in the semi final on July 7th.

This week, Coleraine will play Limavady once again, in a rearranged league fixture – this time a T20 – at Limavady on Tuesday evening starting a 6.30pm. The Second XI’s weekend fixture fell victim to the weather and they will now have a rearranged league match which will take place on Monday evening - again a T20 - at Brigade.