CRICKET: Firsts cruise into semis

EXPRESS DELIVERY...Simon Dunne in action for Coleraine against Eglinton on Saturday. cr23-193MJ
EXPRESS DELIVERY...Simon Dunne in action for Coleraine against Eglinton on Saturday. cr23-193MJ
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COLERAINE secured their place in the semi finals of the Northern Bank Senior Cup with a comprehensive nine wicket win over Eglinton on Saturday.

Many expected this to be another close affair at Sandel Lodge given that just three runs separated the sides on the opening day of the season.

The villagers batted first and a steady fall of wickets saw them reduced to 92 for 5 before an 89-run stand between Richard Wylie and Neal Stewart put them back in the match.

Wylie hit five fours and a six on his way to an impressive 78 and even when he became the third of Johnny Martin’s victims, Stewart battled on to finish unbeaten on 52 as Andy Christie’s side made 215 for 6 in their 50 overs.

It looked a pretty big ask for Coleraine in the circumstances but the Bannsiders sent Mohammad Salman in to open the innings with Ian McGregor and Eglinton could find no way through.

McGregor was patience personified as ever, he hit seven fours in an unbeaten 74 while Salman hit 12 fours and a six on his way to 86, the pair putting on 171 for the first wicket.

That partnership broke the visitors’ resolve completely and skipper Tim Chopra joined McGregor to see the job out after that for a thoroughly comprehensive nine-wicket win.

Eglinton 215-6 (R Wylie 78, N Stewart 52, J Martin 3-46), Coleraine 219-1 (I McGregor 74 no, M Salman 86), Coleraine won by nine wickets.

Chopra’s side are now awaiting the outcome of the rearranged quarter final tie between Donemana and Fox Lodge.

The men from the Holm easily accounted for Sion Mills in Saturday’s delayed second round tie but their attempt to play the quarter final against Fox Lodge on Sunday was washed out and rearranged for June 18, with the winners at home to Coleraine.

Elsewhere, Bready’s reward for knocking out holders Brigade on Saturday is an away semi final against Strabane, last year’s beaten finalists and a team they have already lost to in the league this season.

Bready’s eight wickets victory over Brigade was the most impressive of the day on Saturday.

First they dismissed the unbeaten league leaders for 187 with David Scanlon taking the first three wickets and Mark Fleming the last four before knocking off the runs in just 32 overs.

David Rankin survived the second-over loss of opening partner Mark Olphert to make 81, sharing a second wicket stand of 112 with Steven Clarke, who finished 66 not out.

Strabane beat Limavady by 60 runs at the John Hunter Memorial Grounds to maintain their interest in the cup, and Andy McBrine’s undefeated 117 was eight more than the Sion Mills total in Donemana’s crushing 190 runs victory.