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Day of drama sees Brigade snatch a tie at Donemana

 

By Ian Callender

Donemana's hopes of returning to the top of the Long's SuperValu Premiership this week were dashed on Saturday when they were held to a tie by Brigade but they still made vital ground on leaders Coleraine after one of the most dramatic days of the season.

James McBrine, in his first game of the season, hit the last ball of the rain-interrupted match at The Holm from Johnny Thompson for six to reach their revised par score of 222 in just 26 overs and although it earned them only 12.5 points under the new system, it was still 7.5 more than the Bannsiders who were sensationally bowled out for 73, despite chasing only 80 for victory against Eglinton.

The top score in both innings at Donemana - who start a three-nighter at Ardmore tomorrow - was identical with Niall McDonnell hitting 123 not out for Brigade, including 11 sixes and six fours from 69 balls, while home professional Imram Butt faced seven balls more, hitting 16 fours and six sixes.

The bowlers dominated at Sandel Lodge with Varun Chopra, just back from Ireland Under-19s successful U-19 World Cup qualifying tournament, taking five wickets for Coleraine but the leaders failed to recover from a horror start to their reply when they collapsed from 23-0 to 35-6 and when Steve Lazars, the game's top scorer with 25, was eighth out with 14 still required the tail could not finish the job.

The most significant result of the day came at the other end of the table where Fox Lodge's 250 runs hammering of Drummond left the latter 55 points adrift at the bottom and looking certain for a return to the Championship.

Drummond have two games in hand but after losing their first nine, it would take a huge leap of faith to predict they will win three of their last five just to move up one place, possibly. The first of their games starts tomorrow night, at home to Bready.

Cebo Tshiki was the destroyer in chief for the Foxes on Saturday with 162, smashing 16 fours and 11 sixes which at one stage held up play because they ran out of balls! The South African was actually out in the 39th over so 'only' 79 were added in the last 11 overs as the home side finished on 350 for six.

Drummond surrendered tamely in the end, losing their last seven wickets for 23 as Jason Milligan took three for eight and Adam Boyd finished the match with two from his first four deliveries.

In the other Premiership game, Bready beat Ardmore by 69 runs with no batsman reaching 50 despite 373 runs being scored.

However, only one Bready batsman failed to reach double figures in their total of 221 for eight and then all but one of their seven bowlers got among the wickets as the home side lost their last six for 46 to be dismissed in the 43rd over.

Craig Young played in the match but the Ireland international was not one of the bowlers as he continues to rest his elbow. But he proved he was worth his place as a batsman, with Andrew Austin the only player to score more than his 43.

Best wishes go to Burndennett's Aaron McDermott who, on his return to Strabane for the Championship game between the teams, was taken to hospital after colliding with seats on the boundary. He has a broken leg and was transferred to the Royal hospital in Belfast where he was treated for a neck injury. The game was immediately abandoned.

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