A double header for Coleraine against Donemana was completed with a win on Sunday in the league, to compensate for Saturday’s Senior Cup exit.
The NW Senior Cup semi-final took place at Donemana’s home ground with a large crowd of partial supporters in the natural amphitheatre of the Holm.
For Donemana, as Cup holders for the past three seasons, the priority was to get to another final and, with their passion to win clear from the start, they put Coleraine in to bat in humid conditions.
The Coleraine batsmen, with the exception of captain, Scott Campbell (42) failed to settle into their innings and wickets fell steadily to the Donemana bowling onslaught, as the Coleraine innings finished on 105 runs.
In reply, Donemana lost two early wickets unsettling their home crowd, with the score on just 2 for 2.
The loss of Warriors’ captain, Andy McBrine and overseas Professional Jan Frylinck, were two more blows for the Donemana team as they reached 45.
But from there Gary McClintock (74 not out) and his twin, William, finished the job to take Donemana into the final of the Senior Cup for the fifth year in a row.
The following day, Coleraine returned to the Holm for round two of this double header.
With both teams sharing the top spot in the Premier League, this would move one of them clear on top, to become the only undefeated team in the league this season.
Donemana won the toss again, but decided to bat first, after a rain delay reduced the game to 47 overs each.
Coleraine took to the field and were encouraged by the fall of the first Donemana wicket in the second over as Jarred Barnes bowled opener Stephen Wallace with the total on 5.
Barnes took his second, the Donemana Professional, Frylinck in the same manner, in his fourth over.
The next breakthrough came with the introduction of Scott Campbell into the attack, as opener Tom Riddles and Gary McClintock’s partnership of 61 runs was ended when Campbell bowled McClintock for 23.
Riddles went on to make 72, but without any major support from the remaining batsmen, Donemana were all out for a modest 179 in under 40 overs. Graeme McCarter took four wickets for Coleraine for 34 runs.
There were also two wickets for Kyllin Vardhan and 1 for teenager Varun Chopra for just 28 runs off his 10 overs, remarkable economy, in a match with 17 sixes.
Coleraine reached 50 without incident, but with the score on 54, Scott Campbell, who made his 24 runs from 4 huge sixes, was bowled by Frylinck, to the delight of the Donemana crowd.
Fellow opener Niall McDonnell made 39, but it was Coleraine Professional Kyllin Vardhan, 70 not out off just 57 balls, including 12 fours and 2 sixes, and Rishi Chopra (34 not out) who guided the team to victory in just 28 overs, putting into context the result of the day before.
This leaves Coleraine on top of the Premier League putting their closest rivals, Donemana and Brigade, with one loss each, in joint second.
Next week, the team have their final game in the group stage of the T20 cup on Friday evening at Ardmore, although they have already qualified for the Quarter finals of the Fleming-Agri NW T20 Cup. They then will play Strabane in the league at Sandel Lodge on Saturday.
Donemana (0) lost to Coleraine (2) by 7 wickets.
The Holm, 28 June.
Donemana 179 (39.3 overs, T Riddles 72, G McCarter 4-34, K Vardhan 2-8, J Barnes 2-17)
Coleraine 180-3 (28.0 overs, K Vardhan 70*, N McDonnell 39, R Chopra 34*, W McClintock 2-24)