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Donacloney's David Marshall dreams of a home run to final

By Ian Callender

Waringstown and Donacloney are barely two miles apart, but they meet each other for the first time in 14 years tomorrow in the Ulster Bank Challenge Cup semi-final.

The Section One side have home advantage against the 20-times Cup winners and pace bowler David Marshall is hoping that will work in Donacloney's favour on their biggest day.

"You have to graft for runs at the Factory Ground, it's not quite as good a pitch as the Lawn and hopefully that will be to our advantage," said Marshall.

"Our strength is our three slow bowlers in Stevie Hanna, Gary Knox and our professional Mansing Nigade.

"Our batting hasn't really come off this season and we are relying on Mansing and Bruce Topping."

Worryingly for Donacloney Topping, who has scored his side's only half century this season, in the first round of the cup against Laurelvale, is in a race against time to play in the match after suffering a bout of food poisoning and misses today's league game at Carrickfergus.

"I think it's 50 years since we have been in a semi-final so everyone is desperate to make a game of it and why not cause the upset of the season?" adds Marshall.

In the North West it is Drummond's big day tomorrow.

After their quarter-final win over Bready they, at least, have a Premiership scalp under their belts, but they know it will be much harder to get past Brigade for a dream appearance in the final.

While Bready have played four and lost four in the league, Brigade are unbeaten domestically since the opening day of the season and last Saturday Johnny Thompson hit an unbeaten 124 in their 134 runs victory over Eglinton.

Drummond followed up their Senior Cup upset by bowling out Sion Mills last weekend for 59 – they made 86 against Brigade in the first round – and in Ricky McDaid they have a bowler in form. He took six for 19 against Bready and five days later had figures of six for 18 in the Sam Jeffrey Shield.

If he can get among the early wickets don't rule out a Drummond win.

The other semi final is between all-conquering Coleraine and cup holders Donemana who are in a mini-crisis, with only Bready below them in the league.

The Bannsiders, by contrast, have won all four league games.

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