Brigade may have been forced to wait seven extra days to start the new season but victory against Fox Lodge on Saturday can at least go some way towards getting the horrors of last summer out of their system.
The 2006 and 2007 league champions could manage only seven wins and an eighth place finish last year but they will meet Strabane in a 20 overs match at Beechgrove tomorrow night defending an unbeaten record.
Gordon Cooke, back at the helm, led from the front with four wickets for 14 and, going to the middle at nine for three, finished 49 not out as Brigade passed Fox Lodge’s 139 for the loss of five wickets.
Still, there is plenty of room for improvement. Brigade were 63 for five when Mark Simpson joined his captain but his unbeaten 40 timed the reply to perfection, getting home with two overs to spare.
Strabane had no such scare in their opener against Coleraine. Set 175 to win, Jonathan Beukes shared stands of 89 and 72 with Terron Patton and Peter Gillespie to finish 83 not out in an eight wickets win.
Limavady are the only team with two wins so far, after their 42 runs home success against Bready. Three of the Roesiders’ batsmen got into the 40s and got out — Ian McGregor and Decker Curry for 49 — but Bready, who defeated Donemana on the opening day, never got close, Trevor Hamilton top scoring with 33 as Dean Curry upstaged his elders with four wickets.
The champions bounced back with a home victory over Eglinton. Richard Kee, dropped at the wicket first ball, hit 65 to help Donemana to 193 for eight and with Azhar Shafiq, an earlier than expected arrival from Pakistan making his seasonal debut, Eglinton could manage only 137 in reply, Shafiq taking two for 15.
Killymallaght, hammered by Limavady on the opening weekend, found Glendermott much more to their liking and after Australian Derek Bland (60) and Gareth McKeegan (62) put on 111 for the first wicket, they posted 190. Glendermott were dismissed for 145 with Lendl Richardson top scoring with 48.