Coleraine's fairytale start to the season continued yesterday with a six wicket victory in the Irish Cup over Leinster champions Clontarf.
Set 220 for victory, the Bannsiders timed their reply to perfection, getting home with three balls to spare, thanks to an unbeaten 85 from professional Mohammad Salman and 79 by Tim Chopra.
In the next round, Coleraine will be at home to the joint NCU champions Instonians, one of only four NCU teams to reach the last 16 - and not one of them will be at home next month.
Waringstown and CIYMS will both head south to meet Malahide and Merrion respectively and Civil Service North will follow Instonians to the north west, to play Glendermott who won a thrilling game at Phoenix by three wickets thanks to four byes off the penultimate ball.
There are two other North West teams through to the third round, Limavady and Fox Lodge, the latter winning at Ballymena. Limavady will be involved in the match of the round, after being drawn away to North County, who have won the cup five times in the last nine years while the Foxes will host the holders, Leinster.
Glendermott’s win proved to be, comfortably, the closest tie of the round — the North West’s team effort upstaging Dave Langford-Smith, the former Ireland international bowler’s, remarkable 125 — with only North Down’s game at Pembroke offering a similar hint of excitement. Yet again, though, it was North Down who came out on the wrong side of an Irish Cup game in Dublin, falling eight runs short of Pembroke’s 181 with 21 balls unused.
Batting star for the second week in a row was former Ireland international Kyle McCallan, his unbeaten 145 helping Waringstown to a 110 run victory over Old Belvedere.
Although Leinster clubs make up half of the third round draw, only two clubs are guaranteed progress from the games at Pembroke, where The Hills will be the opposition after easing past Carrickfergus, and Railway Union who host YMCA after their stunning victory at Bready. Five of the first six home batsmen failed to score as they collapsed to three for five. Bready eventually recovered to 98 thanks to Ian Young’s 52.
Joint league champions Strabane crashed out at home to Merrion, Malahide were too strong for St Johnston and North County passed Eglinton’s total of 137 in just 22 overs.
Bob Kerr Irish Cup third round draw: Coleraine or Clontarf v Instonians, Merrion v CIYMS, Malahide v Waringstown, Pembroke v The Hills, Railway Union v YMCA, North County v Limavady, Fox Lodge v Leinster, Glendermott v Civil Service North. Games to be played on Saturday June 12.