Coleraine 3rd XI travelled to Curryfree Road to take on Creevedonnell 2nd XI in their first fixture of the season.
Skipper Jonathan Elder lost the toss and Creevedonnell stalwarts Brian Dougherty and Lee Williamson were watchful against the opening bowling of Coleraine but eventually youngster Calum Smith got the breakthrough when Williamson flicked a full ball to the welcoming hands of Gerry McEwan at mid-wicket. Smith followed this up with a peach of a delivery next ball and when he clean bowled James Wade.
However his hat trick attempt at the start of the next over was well kept out by Dougherty. Michael MacRaild (1 for 25) got into the act when he bowled Don McFaul and Smith got his third wicket when he once again knocked over the timbers. At this stage, the home side were struggling on 35 for four but Roy Thomas joined Dougherty and set about rebuilding the innings.
They had taken the score to 55 when Michael MacRaild took a fine diving catch to dismiss Thomas off the bowling of McEwan and McEwan followed this up with two further wickets and with Creevedonnell teetering on 61 for 7, Coleraine had their eyes set on an early finish. However the evergreen Brian Dougherty decided to go on the attack and punished any loose bowling despatching a number of maximums all over the ground. He dominated a half century partnership with Ryan Stainthorpe who contributed two. The latter was run out by MacRaild and McEwan wrapped up the innings when he bowled Callum Williamson to leave Dougherty stranded on 85 not out. Credit to McEwan and Smith who took seven wickets between them.
Coleraine’s reply got off to a shaky start when Colin Manson (4) was bowled by Williamson but Michael MacRaild joined Neil Morrison in the middle and “Pickle” went on the attack straight away hitting 4 fours and 2 sixes on his way to a quick-fire 31.
It was a fine display of clean hitting but unfortunately he went for one hit too many and was bowled. Morrison (10) followed soon after and at 64 for 3 the home side may have sensed a way back into the game. However Matthew Caulfield took over where MacRaild left off and with the help of skipper Elder saw Coleraine home in the 16th over. Caulfield hit 5 fours and 2 sixes on his way to 43 not out whilst Elder was more watchful and finished on 17 not out.
Skipper Elder was delighted with the result and commented after the game: “After the disappointment of losing the points last week, it was important to get a win under our belts.
“Having lost the toss, I had every faith in my bowlers and they didn’t disappoint. Our fielding was top class too and I knew that the less runs we had to chase the better. It was great to see young Caulfield and MacRaild get amongst the runs and we can approach our next game with confidence.”
Coleraine 3rds next fixture is away to Bonds Glen next Saturday.