Warriors batsmen primed for battle
The North West Warriors open up their Hanley Energy inter-provincial Cup campaign at Stormont today against Northern Knights (10.45am) with most of their batsmen in form.
David Rankin and Andrew Austin put on 83 for Bready on Saturday against early Premiership leaders Coleraine while Craig Averill and Stuart Thompson added 70 for Eglinton to set up their first victory of the season against Ardmore.
Admittedly, there were ducks for David Barr and Ryan Hunter, the latter in Brigade's win over defending champions Strabane, but Rishi Chopra, unbeaten on 24 off just 25 balls, saw Coleraine make it two wins out of two in convincing style.
Bannsiders skipper Scott Campbell, a Warriors regular last season, was overlooked in favour of his younger team-mate but he produced the individual performance of the day with five wickets for 27 in his 10 overs to bowl out Bready for 145 and then hit an unbeaten 63 as Coleraine knocked off the runs in just 29 overs for the loss of three wickets.
Graeme McCarter won the battle with Barr, his team-mate today, trapping him leg before fifth ball but Rankin (52 off 55 balls, with two fours and three sixes) and Austin (32) gave Bready a solid platform which collapsed when Campbell came into the attack. His five wickets came in the space of 38 balls as the visitors slumped from 85 for one to 119 for eight.
Eglinton, well beaten by Coleraine on the opening day, bounced back impressively with a 54-runs win over Ardmore thanks to that third-wicket stand between Averill (39) and Thompson (43), which was boosted by 57 from just 46 balls (three fours and four sixes) by Jamaican professional Oraine Williams.
In reply, set a revised total of 225 in 38 overs, Ardmore lost their first four wickets for 35 and never really recovered despite a run-a-ball 51 from Ryan Brolly who was, crucially, involved in a mix-up with Decker Curry, run out for 28.
In the other Premiership game, Brigade got their season up and running with a four-wickets win over Strabane, two teams without a Warriors player.
Mark Snodgrass, against his former club, however, matched Campbell's wicket-taking haul to reduce Brigade to 45 for five but although they lost David Murdock, Johnny Robinson, a title winner with Strabane last season (72 off 71 balls) and Andy Britton (31) saw the Beechgrove side to their modest victory target of 160 at the start of the 43rd over.
Veteran Mark Simpson took four wickets for the winners while Strabane's batting woes were summed up by Aaron McDermott top scoring with 37 at No 10.
Donemana's trio of Warriors players watched the rain in Donegal on Saturday and it was the same yesterday as Faughan Valley finals day was postponed.
The innings of the weekend came in the Championship and was an ominous sign for any team hoping to challenge Fox Lodge for promotion.
Marco Marais hit 189 not out in the Foxes' 251 for four against Newbuildings to make it two wins out of two; last week, against Burndennett, Marais hit 104 out of the 140 total at the wicket.