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Coleraine and Donemana pull away with perfect starts

 

By Ian Callender

Coleraine and Donemana have opened up a significant advantage at the top of the North West Premiership after making it four wins out of four on Saturday.

The Bannsiders had dropped only one point in their first three games - under the new bonus points system, which awards up to 25 points for a win - but although they dropped two more in a six wickets win over Brigade, they still have a four points lead over Donemana who had a seven wickets victory against Fox Lodge.

Brigade's defeat leaves them 45 points behind and the only way back into the title race, even at this early stage of the season, would appear to be for them to win the return games against their Big Three rivals in August.

Brigade were bowled out for just 112 at Sandel Lodge as opening bowlers Stephen Hutchinson (5-30) and Graham Hume (4-19) shared nine wickets, and Marcus Poskitt's unbeaten 67 eased the Bannsiders to victory with more than 21 overs to spare.

Imran Butt led Donemana's charge for victory at The Holm, hitting 76 off 76 balls with seven fours and four sixes as they passed Fox Lodge's 182-9 in a 38-over match.

That total marked a recovery for the Foxes who had slumped to 83 for five after Jordan McGonigle had taken three wickets for 14 runs in his eight overs, but Andrew McGinnis hit 57 of the next 75 runs.

Butt was then backed up by 44s from William McClintock and Andrew McBrine who saw Donemana home in the 31st over.

Eglinton moved up to fourth place with a maximum points victory over Bready. Trevor Garwe scored 101 in the home side's 261-8, and the Zimbabwean's innings proved just two less than the Bready total as all five Eglinton bowlers took two wickets.

In the one rain-affected game, Drummond fell 38 runs short of the DLS par score of 207 at Ardmore who had scored 197-7 in their 33 overs. Paul McDowell's 53 for the winners was the only half-century of the match.

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