Fielding a strong side Coleraine 2nd XI travelled to Fox Lodge on Saturday with high hopes of getting their first win of the season.
With the batting order being bolstered with the addition of Paul Douglas and former captain Ken Wallace, skipper Steven Harper chose to bat first after winning the toss.
Wilson Torrens and Matthew Douglas got the visitors off to a steady start, putting on 36 for the first wicket before Douglas departed for 20. This led to another signature Coleraine middle order collapse with wickets falling at regular intervals. Many batsmen made starts but failed to make any meaningful contributions.
Paul Douglas dug in but quickly ran out of partners and was eventually the last man out. Douglas top scored with a 29 that included some expansive stroke play including a majestic six. Coleraine yet again let themselves down with the bat, leaving the bowlers with 108 runs to play with.
It didn’t deter the strong Coleraine attack who never stopped believing. It wasn’t long before the in-form Stephen Hutchinson was amongst the wickets as he removed J. Stewart. First change bowler Brian Acheson soon got rid of C. Allen. This was followed by a great spell of bowling from Harper and Matthew Smyth who kept things tight and each contributed with vital wickets. With the opposition reaching their target for the loss of six wickets Coleraine were yet again left to rue the fact that an extra 20 or 30 runs may have made the difference between a loss and a win.
This was yet again a superb performance from Coleraine in the field with all bowlers and fielders performing to their potential.For the batsmen it is of the utmost importance that they rediscover their form sooner rather than later.
After a disappointing defeat on Saturday, Coleraine dusted themselves off and travelled to Eglinton in a determined frame of mind. The day got off to a promising start when skipper Steven Harper won the toss and elected to bat. It was vital that Coleraine’s batsmen put their disappointment behind them and play to their full potential.
Openers Wilson Torrens and Matthew Douglas didn’t fail as they got the side off to a wonderful start with an opening stand of 95 before the former holed out four runs shy of his half century. The good form continued as Harper joined Douglas and continued the flow of runs before a communication breakdown led to the demise of Douglas who was run out for 43.
A quick flurry of wickets followed as the Coleraine batsmen attempted to up the tempo before the returning Peter Wallace smashed a quick fire 35 not out to post a competitive total of 184 for 9. This was the first time this season that the team batted their full allotment of overs, and given the fact they did so against a number of Eglinton’s 1st XI bowlers, was a great achievement.
With Eglinton’s batting line-up stacked with a top order of 1st XI players, it was always going to be tough to break them down. However a tight opening spell from Stephen Hutchison and Brian Acheson meant that the Eglinton openers had to settle for a slow but steady start, hitting 47 in the first 14 overs. A change of bowling gave Alastair Handforth the chance to take advantage of a turning pitch and was soon rewarded when he picked up the prize scalp of Andy Christie following a sharp catch by the veteran Torrens at first slip.
This brought former Coleraine favourite, Tim Chopra, to the crease who must have been nervous facing his ex-compatriots. His first ball found the edge of his bat but unfortunately deflected a little bit too much away from keeper Douglas who saw the ball hit the outside of his gloves and fall agonisingly to the ground. This was followed by a spell of loose bowling by most of the Coleraine bowlers which allowed the batsmen the chance to dominate proceedings and slowly take the game away from the Bannsiders. Chopra reached 76 before being trapped LBW by an in-swinging delivery from Hutchison. Eglinton finished the game a few overs later, winning handsomely by eight wickets.
Post-match, team manager, Nigel Barr said: “It was always going to be difficult today because Eglinton is a good team and they had stacked their side with 1st XI players. It was heartening to see us finally get a decent total on the board but our bowlers gave them too many loose deliveries and this cost us in the end. We have now proved ourselves to have a very good bowling, fielding and batting set up. Now it’s just a matter of putting all three of these facets together in the same game.”