Coleraine 1st XI met joint league leaders Donemana on Sunay in what might be, even at this early stage of the season, a significant turning point.
Both teams were previously unbeaten and the result would mean that one team would take the sole lead, as no other team in the league have claimed all the points in their matches to date.
Coleraine started the day losing the toss and were put in to bat by Donemana. Both opening batsmen for Coleraine had just returned from Dublin where they had played for the North West Warriors against the Leinster Lightnings on Saturday at Malahide Cricket Club in the Interprovincial series.
Niall McDonnell started strongly hitting three fours off the second over, bowled by fellow “Warrior” Andy McBrine, but in the third over Donemana’s professional, Kamran Sajid, claimed Campbell’s wicket LBW as Coleraine reached 17 for 1.
Donemana continued to vary the bowling attack, using seven bowlers in all, as they tried to make further breakthroughs against the Coleraine batsmen. McDonnell was out for 36 as Coleraine reached 66 for 3, then Coleraine’s professional chipped in with 23, before the final partnership of the innings between brothers David and Gordon Cooke put on 112 runs, with captain David finishing on 83 not out while Gordon made 45 as he was run out, off the final ball of the innings in the attempt at a second run. Coleraine set the target of 226 for 6 as tea was taken after their 50 overs. When Donemana came out to bat, there was some nervousness amongst the Coleraine supporters that 226 runs might not be enough to keep Donemana at bay. Coleraine’s opening bowlers, Jarred Barnes and Gareth Burns, bowled fiercely through the first nine overs without taking a wicket but held the Donemana pair to just 28 runs. Knowing from previous experience that this would not be enough to prevent a later charge from the Donemana batsmen, Coleraine were especially delighted to take their first wicket, Kamran Sajid, with the last ball of the 10th over as he was adjudged LBW off the bowling of Gareth Burns.
New batsman Graham Boyd attempted to take the momentum back, hitting a couple of fours off Burns’ next over, but after a partnership of 26 more runs, he was caught behind by wicket keeper David Cooke, as Coleraine’s other opener Barnes claimed his first, well deserved, wicket at 54 for 2. With two more wickets for Barnes in his next over, claiming both dangerous batsmen, Andy McBrine and Ricky Lee Dougherty off successive deliveries, Donemana had slumped to 58 for 4 and were never able to recover from these losses.
Apart from Gary McClintock (23) and Junior McBrine (15) none of the Donemana team reached double figures. As Gordon Cooke took McClintock’s wicket and then Donemana captain Richard Kee’s, Donemana reached 63 for 5 and then 63 for 6 in the 17th and 19th overs. Cooke finished his good day with the ball, with figures of four wickets for just 15 runs in his eight overs, to add to his performance with the bat.
With the first ball of the 31st over Roy Silva took the final wicket of Jordan McGonigle caught by Rishi Chopra as Donemana failed to pass 90 runs, giving Coleraine a massive 136 run victory and putting them on top of the league table as the only undefeated team in the North West Premier League this season.
This weekend Coleraine 1st XI return to Cup action with the Ulster Cup second round game against Eglinton. This will be their third meeting this season, with the scores 2-0 to Coleraine so far.
The club’s Second XI play Donemana Seconds at Sandel Lodge on Saturday 8th and the Thirds are at home (at CAI) on Saturday too against Killyclooney 2nds, while Coleraine Fourths are away to Sion Mills.
Sandel Lodge, 2 June.
Coleraine (50.0 overs, D Cooke 83*, G Cooke 45, N McDonnell 36, W McBrine 2-40)
Donemana (30.1 overs, G Cooke 4-15, J Barnes 3-24)