Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Cricket: Brigade's fate is in their own hands this weekend

Brigade can be confirmed as North West league champions for a second successive year this weekend, but they will be only two thirds of the way to the Holy Grail.

For the best part of three decades, the Londonderry club have lived in the shadows of the other members of the area's Big Three. From 1985 Donemana won nine successive league titles and then Brigade could only look on as Limavady won the next seven. Despite coming top four times this Millennium, Brigade have done nothing better than back to back championships, but they really believe they could be onto an extended run this time.

With only the addition of 38-year-old former Ireland international Stephen Smyth returning to his old haunting ground, it is little wonder that the Senior One League trophy this year would give them even more satisfaction and the power to add.

First up, tomorrow, is the away game at Strabane, but an away win will do no more than give Mark Simpson's side the momentum to take into the title decider at Donemana.

Even if Brigade lose the first leg of their double header, it will matter not a jot if they bounce back with victory in the 20 overs match at The Holm on Sunday.

Two points clear with a match in hand, Brigade are in an imposing position and it will be a major surprise if they falter now.

Donemana's defeat on Monday night, to Strabane ironically, summed up their season as yet another batting collapse - in a Twenty20 match - cost them dear.

Even Jordan McGonigle, the Donemana skipper, does not expect Brigade to slip up three times.

Fixtures: Tonight (5.30) Henderson Property League Senior One: Bready v Killymallaght.

Tomorrow (1pm): Glendermott v Limavady, Killymallaght v Eglinton; Strabane v Brigade.

Sam Jeffrey Memorial Cup Final (noon): Ardmore v Creevedonnell (Eglinton).

Senior Two: Bonds Glen v Sion Mills, Killyclooney v Drummond, St Johnston v North Fermanagh.

Sunday: (1pm): Senior One: Bready v Glendermott, Donemana v Brigade.

Wednesday's result - At New Strabane Park, Strabane beat Bready by eight runs. Strabane 104-5 (20 overs, J Beukes 51 not out, T Britton 2-22) Bready 96-7 (I Young 23, D Rankin 21; M Gillespie 2-11, M Deans 2-14).