After a gap of four weeks without a league game, Coleraine 1st XI travelled to the Holm on Saturday to take on Donemana.
Once again the weather threatened to disrupt proceedings as the ground had suffered the effects of heavy rain on Friday night and further showers on Saturday morning.
Thankfully an improvement in conditions allowed play to start at 15.45 with the game reduced to 25 overs per side. With Donemana winning the toss, it was no surprise that Coleraine were asked to bat first.
After the early loss of two wickets, the visitors’ innings was dominated by Scott Campbell as he forged partnerships of 63, 28 and 31 with Kyllin Vardhan, David Cooke and Matthew Douglas respectively to steer Coleraine to a total of 162 for 7. Scott finished on 76 not out off just 61 balls in a magnificent knock which included 6 sixes and 3 fours.
The early part of Donemana’s reply saw Coleraine opening bowlers grasp the initiative as they claimed four wickets in the first five overs, including those of Donemana’s overseas professional Kamran Sajid and of the North West Warriors captain, the dangerous Andy McBrine.
This, however, brought Dwayne McGerrigle to the crease and just as Scott Campbell had been the stand out performer with the bat for Coleraine, so he was for Donemana. He smashed 11 sixes and 2 fours to reach 86 before he was caught by Varun Chopra off the bowling of Gareth Burns. Kyllin Vardhan and Rishi Chopra also claimed one wicket each and Jarred Barnes returned the excellent figures of 4 wickets for 16 runs off his 5 overs. Donemana went into the last over requiring 11 runs to win with 2 wickets in hand.
Scott Campbell had the unenviable task of bowling this over, but he held his nerve to have William McBrine caught off the first ball and then lured Junior McBrine down the track where he was stumped by wicket keeper Matthew Douglas to see Coleraine receive a hard fought 9 run victory.
Donemana (0) lost to Coleraine (2) by 9 runs.
The Holm, 23 August.
Coleraine 162-7 (25.0 overs, S Campbell 76*, K Vardhan 31, D McGerrigle 3-30, K Sajid 2-23)
Donemana 153 (24.4 overs, D McGerrigle 86, J Barnes 4-16, S Campbell 2-1)
There was another tight finish on Sunday at Sandel Lodge where the Bannsiders entertained Ardmore in a re-arranged match which had been washed out on the first attempt in July.
Ardmore won the toss and batted first and although Rishi Chopra claimed the wicket of the legendary Decker Curry, who scored just 14 runs, Andrew Riddles proved more persistent.
He was dismissed for 46 and with Jarred Barnes, Gareth Burns, Varun Chopra and Scott Campbell taking 2 wickets each and Varun Chopra running out Conor Brolly, Ardmore were dismissed for 138 in 45.3 overs.
Coleraine’s reply got off to the worst possible start with 5 wickets falling within the first 11 overs. David and Gordon Cooke slowly rebuilt the innings until the latter was adjudged lbw on 14. Two good partnerships between David Cooke and Varun Chopra (26) and Cooke and Gareth Burns (40) took Coleraine within 6 runs of victory but when Cooke was caught on the boundary in the 49th over, Ardmore claimed victory by 5 runs.
At this stage, Coleraine are in third place in the Premier league, with the leaders Brigade six points ahead, with four games to play. Although not mathematically out of the race for the title, Coleraine still have crucial games to play against the current leaders Brigade and challengers, Strabane, which will take some one of the three over the finishing line.
Next weekend Coleraine are at home on Saturday against Bready and then away on Sunday in the replay of the Brigade game which may decide the issue of the title for this season.