COLERAINE’S excellent season to date continued on Sunday as they dispatched Eglinton to secure their place in the semi finals of the Ulster Cup.
Sandel Lodge was bathed in glorious sunshine on Sunday as Coleraine 1st XI played hosted their north west rivals in the second round of the cup competition.
The many spectators who had taken advantage of the good weather to have a day out watching a game of cricket were treated to a spectacular display of batting by Coleraine.
Crucially, Coleraine’s captain, David Cooke won the toss and had no hesitation in electing to bat first. After a watchful first over, Coleraine’s openers, Niall McDonnell and Scott Campbell, set about the visitors’ bowlers, with McDonnell being particularly ruthless in despatching any loose balls to the boundary.
He reached his fifty in just 38 balls and when Campbell was caught and bowled for a well-played 35, the score was already on 123.
If Eglinton thought claiming a wicket would give them some respite, they were sorely mistaken. Campbell was replaced by Roy Silva who took just 36 balls to score 69 runs – smashing seven fours and four sixes to all parts of the ground in the process.
When Silva departed with the score on 225, McDonnell had already passed his century (in 94 balls) in a performance which could best be described as a batting masterclass. When his wicket eventually fell he had scored a magnificent 112 runs and had provided wonderful entertainment for the watching Coleraine supporters.
At 228 for 3, and with just seven overs left, David Cooke came to the crease. Not to be outdone by his teammates, he took just 28 balls to strike a quick-fire fifty and secure his team an imposing total of 299 for 5 off 40 overs.
None of the Eglinton bowlers escaped the carnage – Karl O’Doherty was the pick of their attack taking three wickets, but he only managed to do so at the expense of 65 runs in his 8 overs.
After tea, Coleraine’s bowlers showed no mercy to Eglinton’s batsmen. A tremendous spell of bowling by Jarred Barnes saw him dismiss all four of Eglinton’s top order while conceding just 19 runs.
At this point former Ireland international Stephen Smyth dug in and, while he lost a succession of partners- two wickets falling to Gareth Burns and one to Scott Campbell – he provided stubborn resistance to the home side’s bowlers.
He was joined by Johnny Gardiner and they put on 74 runs for the 9th wicket.
However, when the wickets of Smyth and Gardiner were claimed by Niall McDonnell and Paul Douglas respectively, Eglinton were all out, still 105 runs short of Coleraine’s total.
Coleraine will now meet North Down in the semi-finals with another home fixture at Sandel Lodge on 30 June. In the other semi-final Bready travel to Waringstown for another North West v NCU clash.
Next week Coleraine 1st XI plays in the semi-final of the Faughan Valley Cup on Thursday evening away to Brigade, and then there are two fixtures at the weekend. First, on Saturday, they will host St Johnston in the second round of the Senior Cup and then, on Sunday, they travel to Bready for their next league fixture.
The Second XI has league and Cup action next weekend too. Firstly away to Strabane Seconds on Saturday and at home on Sunday in the Qualifying One Cup against Fox Lodge Seconds.
Coleraine 4ths have 2 fixtures also - they will be playing Bready 4ths at CAI on Saturday in the Qualifying 3 Cup second round and on Sunday, they travel to play Fox Lodge 4ths in the league.