Belfast Telegraph

Cricket: Brigade must cope without Niall McDonnell in Strabane test

By Ian Callender

Niall McDonnell is out of tomorrow’s possible league title decider between Brigade and Strabane.

The former Red Caps’ opening bat who won a Senior Cup winners medal with the Beechgrove side this year, after beating his former team in the final, is at a wedding in Boston.

McDonnell scored 74 in the two-day final at Eglinton last month, but was a reluctant participant in the winning team photograph and there are strong rumours linking the Ireland A batsman with a return to Strabane Park next season.

However, the wedding in America was a long-standing arrangement and, indeed, he had to declare himself unavailable for the Ireland A game in Hampshire this week — so his absence from tomorrow’s game is no more than an unfortunate coincidence for Brigade who, of the three remaining contenders, would appear to have the title in their own hands.

Brigade are locked together at the top of the table with Strabane and Bready, four points clear of the pack with only three matches remaining, and following today’s top of the table clash at Beechgrove, Brigade go to Bready next Saturday before visiting Donemana on the final day of the season.

However, if the Red Caps can repeat their impressive win over Brigade in the first league match between the teams — they chased 246 for the loss of three wickets in 46 overs — the defending joint champions will put themselves in pole position with a home game against Glendermott and a final day visit to basement side St Johnston to follow.

Bready know a win over Bready next weekend is imperative to their chances of lifting the championship trophy for the first time but either side of it they must also go to Donemana and Glendermott so they have the most difficult run-in and, with one of their title rivals winning tomorrow, they are the outsiders of the three.

One change for the last three weekends is that the games are now 45 overs per side, to beat the fading light.

Fixtures: Tomorrow: Henderson Properties Senior League One (1pm): Brigade v Strabane, Coleraine v Glendermott, Donemana v Bready, St Johnston v Fox Lodge. Sunday: Eglinton v Limavady.

Belfast Telegraph

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