Action in the North West Premier League returned to Sandel Lodge on Saturday as Coleraine 1st XI hosted a Bready team brimming with confidence after their back to back victories the previous weekend over the League leaders Coleraine and Brigade.
Coleraine won the toss and decided to put Bready in to bat. Although the opening batsmen struggled on the seaming pitch, the score had reached 33 before the home side claimed their first wicket – as a result of a run out from a ball fielded by Rishi Chopra.
Shortly afterwards Jarred Barnes took two wickets in consecutive balls to reduce the visitors to 46 for 3.
Bready’s in-form professional Romano Ramoo was now at the crease, along with Robert Spence who had top scored for his team in their victory over Coleraine the previous Saturday, but their attempts to rebuild were thwarted by Gordon Cooke who dismissed first Ramoo for 17 and then Spence for 14.
Bready’s captain David Scanlon fell to Scott Campbell before Gareth Burns returned for a second spell in which he accounted for David Allen.
Allen and Ryan Barr had put on 40 for the seventh wicket and even after Allen was out, Barr continued to add runs to the Bready total, until Rory Knox had him caught by Rishi Chopra and then added to his tally two balls later with the wicket of Trevor Hamilton.
It was left to Rishi Chopra to wrap up the innings with the final wicket to see Bready all out for 166.
Coleraine’s reply got off to the worst possible start with two wickets falling for just four runs.
Niall McDonnell and Paul Douglas stabilised matters with a 43 run stand for the third wicket, but then the former was bowled by David Scanlon and the latter was caught behind, again off the bowling of Scanlon and at 61 for 4 Coleraine looked to be in trouble.
However a superb 108 run partnership between Scott Campbell (51 not out) and David Cooke (50 not out) ensured a comfortable win for Coleraine with more than eight overs to spare.
This result puts Coleraine firmly in control of their own fate in the Premier League.
They are now two points clear of Brigade, with both teams having just three games to play.
The crux will be however that these two will play each other twice next weekend, first at Beechgrove on Saturday and then at Sandel Lodge on Sunday. A win each would leave both teams hanging on the final games to be played on September 7th, but if either team wins both, it would almost certainly be the decider for who will be League Champions this year.
The match on Sunday at Sandel Lodge, the last home game for the 1st XI this year, will be the biggest game of the weekend in the North West, but may be the most important of the season for Coleraine.
The team would appreciate a huge home crowd to help them finish the season not only as Ulster Champions but by adding the Premier league title to their name.
The game starts at 12 noon and you are encouraged to come along to watch and give the team your support.
Coleraine (2) beat Bready by 6 wickets. Sandel Lodge, 17 August.
Bready 166 (49.0 overs, R Barr 42, R Knox 2-2, G Cooke 2-19, J Barnes 2-21) Coleraine 169-4 (40.4 overs, S Campbell 51*, D Cooke 50*, D Scanlon 2-42)