Coleraine suffered a setback in their pursuit of the North West Premier League title when they were beaten by last year’s champions, Strabane, on Saturday.
Having won the toss, Coleraine opted to bowl first and soon looked in control as both opening batsmen and the in-form Peter Gillespie were dismissed with the score on just 44 for 3 off 17 overs.
The visitors, however, failed to press home their advantage and a 70 run partnership between Aaron Gillespie and Ryan Gallagher saw the momentum of the game shift in favour of Strabane, until four wickets for Rishi Chopra helped to stem the flow of runs.
With the number of overs reduced to 45 because of rain delays, Strabane finished on 167 for 9.
Coleraine were then set a revised target of 174 using the Duckworth Lewis Stern method but they were soon in trouble on 17 for 3 as their batsmen struggled to cope with the bowling of Aaron Gillespie (5 for 12).
Wickets continued to fall regularly and with only 3 players making it to double figures, Coleraine succumbed to a 95 run defeat.
This was a really disappointing performance from the Bannsiders and one which they cannot afford to repeat if they are to have any hope of securing the league title this season.
Looking ahead to this Saturday Coleraine will host St Johnston at home in the league starting at 12noon and they will hope to return to form and take back the initiative in the race for the title.
With the loss of points to the washed out no result game against Brigade two weeks ago, Coleraine no longer have a substantive lead over Brigade and Donemana, who could both potentially join them in 1st place on 16 points, with the games they have in hand at this stage.
In the meantime, the 1st XI will also have to travel to Donemana on Tuesday evening to play the quarter final of the T20 cup, which will as always be a challenging game at the Holm.
The hosts have just won the North West Senior Cup for the fourth year running and are always a dangerous competitor, particularly on their home territory.
Meanwhile Coleraine will have a replayed game at Eglinton on Tuesday evening which will be a T20 game and on Saturday Coleraine Thirds travel to Drummond in the Q3 league.
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