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Holders Donemana take firm grip thanks to Riddles

By Ian Callender

Andrew Riddles turned the clock back as Bank of Ireland Senior Cup holders Donemana claimed a first innings lead of 37 in their quest to become the first team in more than 100 years to retain the trophy for five years.

Riddles missed the last four finals but the 32-year-old repeated his feat, from his first spell at the club, when he top scored in the second innings of the 2001 final against Limavady, to give the Tyrone side what could prove a decisive advantage against Coleraine at Strabane Park.

His unbeaten 76 took Donemana past the Bannsiders' 198 for four, a total which underlined the league champions' lack of experience in the two-day final.

Niall McDonnell batted through the innings for just 80 runs - probably grateful to get a second chance after being dropped at slip to the third ball of the match before he had scored - but his ultra-cautious approach could yet cost his team their 100 per cent record in cup finals; Coleraine won on their only previous appearance in 1986.

Captain Scott Campbell's 38 used up 82 balls, with only four boundaries - McDonnell hit only six - and it needed David Cooke, normally the middle-order anchor for the Bannsiders, to hit 33 from 24 balls at the end to bolster their modest total.

Admittedly the pitch got easier as the sun intensified in the afternoon - there was a brief interruption for rain in the Coleraine innings - but Donemana were able to pace their reply.

Still, it was the 45th over before the holders took the lead as Campbell and Jarred Barnes conceded just three runs an over, while Gordon Cooke finished with three wickets.

All eyes were on Coleraine's latest professional, Sri Lankan Surav Randiv who was making his debut in the final. The off spinner duly claimed the prize wicket of Ireland international Andy McBrine in his third over and picked up his brother Ritchie in his eighth and last.

He only made it to the middle to face one ball in the last over but at least Coleraine scored 82 from the final 10 overs.

The question last night, though, was it too late?

Belfast Telegraph


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