Davy Cooke’s Coleraine side marked their renewed intent by demolishing Glendermott during a most ruthless performance at home on Saturday.
Coleraine’s pace quartet of Barnes, Burns, Silva and Gordy Cooke overwhelmed the visiting side by dismissing them for 76 before Davy Cooke smashed an unbeaten 50 victory to secure a superb nine wicket verdict with 250 balls to spare.
On a lifeless surface Gareth Burns bowled with determination to claim the first three wickets, dismissing professional Gavon Christian - who looked set for a big score - with a beauty for 20.
Managing to nip the ball away from the right-hander, Burns drew the outside edge, with D Cooke taking a superb catch low of his right.
No other batsman surpassed 10 as Burns and Jarred Barnes utilised their height to extract uneven bounce, bowling their 10 overs consecutively despite sapping heat at Sandel Lodge.
Burns finished with 3-22 and Barnes 3-27 as Gordon Cooke (2-7) and Roy Silva (2-20) kept the foot very much on the throats of Glendermott as they finished all out in only 26.5 overs.
Davy Cooke set his own targets in decimating Glendermott during a 30-ball innings of 50, smashing 4 sixes and 4 fours during a ferocious innings.
Using the game as a statement of intent with both Strabane and Warringstown to play in a fortnight, Cooke launched sixes over square leg, midwicket and long on during the knock.
Although brother Gordon fell for 12 while batting in a similar vein, there were no alarms for Coleraine as Silva supported Cooke to his fifty.
“Bring on Strabane” were Cooke’s words following the game.
“We’re off next week but the business end of the season is approaching and we’re determined not to falter this time around,” said a determined Cooke as his side show no signs of faltering.
Historically though, the final third of the season has exposed Coleraine’s inexperience at closing out competition, but the omens are good for a different outcome this time round as the Bannsiders enjoy a week off at the top of the league.
They will be hoping the chance to recharge the batteries will stand them in good stead as they go into the business end of the season with so much at stake for the Sandel Lodge outfit.
Elsewhere in the North West Senior League it was scarcely more difficult for Fox Lodge, who eased their relegation fears with a 10-wicket destruction of Eglinton at Ballymagorry.
Tim Chopra struck 12 fours and two sixes for the visitors before falling for 98 and Johnny Robinson’s five for 47 was key to Fox Lodge limiting their opponents to 241 all out.
Fox Lodge were faced with what appeared to be a tricky run chase but you would hardly have known from the way openers Kyle Prince and Jason Milligan set about their target.
South African Prince produced his best innings in Fox Lodge colours with 14 fours and two sixes in a superb unbeaten 106.
Milligan, who has been one of the stand-out players of the season so far in the North West, struck 16 fours and a six on his way to an unbeaten 117, his second century in a matter of weeks.
The unbroken partnership for the first wicket was 243 and effectively removes Fox Lodge from the relegation shake-up. Eglinton too can surely relax despite suffering a second successive heavy defeat.
Brigade had a very tricky trip to Strabane Park to negotiate with both sides looking to continue their winning runs in the title race and it was the visitors who were to go home happy. Gareth McKeegan won an important toss given the stifling heat and not surprisingly opted to bat first and Mattie Moran went on the attack from the first ball.
Brigade were finally dismissed for 183- probably par in the circumstances - as all the Strabane bowlers chipped in. Mark Snodgrass (3-30) and Tommy Barr (3-43) fared best. Mark Simpson continued his fine form with the ball taking 5 for 14 in a 21-run win Brigade in their warm up for the North West Cup final.
Finalists Brigade and Donemana will both go into this weekend’s Danske Bank decider at Eglinton with confidence high after recording big wins in their respective league games on Saturday.