Convincing win at St Johnston keeps Coleraine at the top of the pile

Niall McDonnell hits a massive six.
Niall McDonnell hits a massive six.

After three weekends of cup matches, Coleraine 1st XI resumed their league campaign on Saturday with a trip to Co. Donegal to play St Johnston.

With the forecast threatening rain later in the day, both teams had agreed to start play an hour earlier than scheduled, but rain on Friday night coupled with the perennially damp conditions of the St Johnston ground meant that for a time on Saturday morning it looked unlikely that play would get underway at all.

However, as other games were abandoned or suffered delayed stats, the St Johnston v Coleraine clash got underway on time, with St Johnston winning the toss and putting Coleraine in to bat.

While batting conditions were difficult, Niall McDonnel and Scott Campbell started positively.

When the captain was run out in the fifth over, he was replaced by Kyllin Vardhan, and he and McDonnell went on to build an excellent partnership of 131 over the next 20 overs. When both fell in short succession, with Vardhan on 45 and McDonnell on 78, the score was on 151 and another 97 runs (including 44 from Graeme McCarter) were added in the remaining overs as the visitors closed on 248 for 8.

While Coleraine’s senior players had performed well during the first innings, it was the team’s teenagers who dominated the second.

Rishi Chopra (3 for 18), Varun Chopra (2 for 25) and Matty Smyth (2 for 8) accounted for all but 3 of the St Johnston batsmen and wicket keeper Matthew Douglas contributed three stumpings. With Scott Campbell also taking two wickets and Kyllin Vardhan one, the home side were dismissed for 129, to secure a convincing 119 run win for Coleraine.

St Johnston (0) lost to Coleraine (2) by 119 runs.

The Boathole, 30 May.

Coleraine 248-8 (50.0 overs, N McDonnell 78, K Vardhan 45, G McCarter 44)

St Johnston 129 (46.5 overs, R Chopra 3-18)

Donemana join Coleraine at the top of the league after a high scoring game at the Holm where they got the better of Strabane in a 500-run contest.

The cup holders up to 297 for 8 in their 50 overs and against what looked a very under-strength Strabane side it seemed far too many.

Early wickets for Ritchie McBrine (2-23) and Frylinck (2-53) had the visitors reeling at 7 for 3 before a solid partnership between Peter Gillespie and bowling hero Gallagher gave them hope.

Gillepsie racked up 134 but in terms of the match it was to matter little because while they struggled to contain Gillespie, the home attack was far too strong for Strabane’s other batsmen.

Donemana ran out wiunners by 87 runs in the end.

Coleraine first XI now have a weekend without a game, returning to action again on 13th June with a home draw against Bready in the next round of the NWCU Senior Cup.

Next Saturday the 2nd XI will play at Sandel Lodge in a T20 replay of a game against Brigade 2nds which failed to get started this week, due to rain and hail in Coleraine on Sunday afternoon. The next day they will travel to Stormont to play in the Ulster Plate against CSNI 2nds.