What a difference 24 hours and 80 miles make. North Down used home advantage to romp into the final of the Ulster Bank Challenge Cup on Saturday, amassing 281 for six, but at Beechgrove yesterday their hopes of a second final were left in tatters, bowled out for just 95 by Brigade in the ClubTurf Ulster Cup.
The North West league champions will meet Civil Service North in the final on August 5 after the Belfast side had a surprisingly easy win over Donemana at Stormont.
Both losing teams will have their gripes, North Down at the Beechgrove surface and Donemana at the umpiring, but the margins in both games were decisive enough to ensure that the best team won on the day.
Brigade won by 75 runs and CSN by five wickets with 11 overs to spare, despite their best three batsmen, Nigel Jones, Charles Beverland and Griffiin Nieuwouldt dismissed with just 12 runs on the board.
But Paddy Fisher, with a composed 46, including seven fours saw the team across the finishing line, helped by the returning Wayne Horwood, in his first match of the season, hitting 25, off 32 balls with two sixes.
CSN were chasing only 99 for victory as Donemana collapsed from 74 for four with a couple of contentious leg before decisions, including top scorer Ricky-Lee Dougherty for 34. But of the rest, only Dwayne McGerrigle made double figures.
Only one batsman got past 25 at Beechgrove in a disappointing game between last year’s defending league champions, but a devastating opening burst by Johnny Thompson — who had top scored with 39 — and Mark Simpson, who finished with five for 12, won the match for Brigade.
Needing 171 for victory, North Down’s top five contributed only four runs as they slumped to 15 for five and although Johnny Terrett (25) and Neil Russell (22) hinted at a recovery, adding 45 for the sixth wicket, both were out within two runs of each other and the innings folded quietly.
It was no consolation to the Comber side last night but North Down were the most popular winners of the weekend when they ended Lisburn’s interest in the Challenge Cup.
It was the Wallace Park side who earned the ire of the vast majority of NCU clubs when they chose to have a bowl-out in their quarter final against holders Waringstown rather than play at The Lawn, so there was much gloating around the union when North Down bowled Lisburn out for 139 and a crushing victory by 142 runs.
Peter Eakin, too late for inclusion in the Ireland U19 World Cup squad, again impressed with 80 and shared a third wicket stand of 107 with Ryan Haire (73). Terrett’s unbeaten 48 ensured 102 were scored in the last 12 overs to put North Down out of sight and into the final against Muckamore or Instonians who play their postponed semi final on Sunday week.
Northern Bank Cup holders Bready are into this year’s semi final after a four wickets win over Burndennett, Aga Sabir scoring 76 of the winners’ 182.
The Ulster Shield final, like its senior equivalent, will be played in the North West after Eglinton (203) beat Cliftonville by 66 runs and Muckamore (210-7) beat Dundrum by 26 runs.