Donemana take control of final after underdogs give them scare
Hot favourites Donemana take a 97-run lead into the second day of the Bank of Ireland Senior Cup final but they did not have it all their own way after Ballyspallen put them in to bat.
It needed a partnership of 102 between skipper Ricky-Lee Dougherty and Andrew Riddles to put the holders back on track after the Championship side had reduced them to 71 for five.
But once the early movement had subsided, following an 80-minute delay at the start, Donemana powered on and even after Mark Averill ended the sixth-wicket stand, they took control with 51 runs off the last six overs.
Before the match, Ballyspallen captain Lee Ritchie said it was his objective to bat the 50 overs "to stay in the contest" but last night they didn't quite make it, bowled out for 129 in the 43rd over.
Averill made the top score of 32 before he was the third of Jordan McGonigle's four wickets, although it was veteran Junior McBrine who had hurried the innings to a conclusion with two wickets in two balls as Ballyspallen slid to 111 for seven.
When Averill was out, his side still needed two runs to avoid the follow-on but although Ritchie and Stephen McCloskey avoided that embarrassment, it already looks as if only the margin of Donemana's record-equalling sixth successive Cup success is in doubt.
But Ballyspallen had their 20 overs of fame at the start of the match as Ritchie had Pakistan professional Imran Butt caught for 12 and Johnny Martin, in his first over, found the edge of Jamie Huey's bat. The underdogs then took three wickets for eight runs with Gary McClintock run out going for a third, William McClintock was stumped for four and in the next over McCloskey bowled Kyle Dougherty for 19.
Scores: Donemana 1st innings 226-8 (RL Dougherty 63, A Riddles 47, D McGerrigle 28, G McClintock 20, S McCloskey 2-35, M Averill 2-56, J Martin 2-64) Ballyspallen 1st Innings 129 (42.2 overs, M Averill 32, S Kennedy 26, I Hill-Nicholl 24,C Averill 20, J McGonigle 4-21, Jun McBrine 3-22, D McGerrigle 2-40). Play resumes at noon.