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Cricket: Beukes catapults Strabane to decider

Strabane will meet Brigade in the final of the Northern Bank Senior Cup final at the end of next month after the Red Caps ended Donemana’s hold on the trophy with a 52-run success in yesterday’s second semi-final.

In reply to Strabane’s 289 for nine, the holders were coasting at 154 for one in the 29th over, but the loss of four wickets for 13 runs, including Ryan Hunter for 88, changed the course of the match. Hunter, who faced just 85 balls and hit 16 fours and a six, was bowled by Mark Gillespie but it was Tommy Barr, at the other end, who dismissed Ricky-Lee Dougherty, Andy McBrine and Azhar Shafiq in quick succession to put Strabane in control.

Captain Jonathan Beukes, who had scored 73 — and shared a third wicket stand of 124 with Peter Gillespie (five fours and three sixes in 74) — then took four wickets as Donemana collapsed to 237 all out.

On Saturday, Brigade’s progress to the final was not as straightforward as many predicted. First, Ricky Stewart took four wickets to reduce the favourites to 116 for six and it needed captain Mark Simpson (six not out) to stay with Johnny Thompson (61) for an hour to get Brigade up to 209. They were still all out in the 47th over and when Eglinton were 110 for three in reply it was ‘game on’. But Richard Wylie, with four wickets against his former club, sparked a home collapse and they were all out 29 runs later.

Strabane have been drawn away to Instonians in the ClubTurf Ulster Cup semi-finals, the only NCU team left in the cup, and Brigade will be away to Limavady after their 36-run victory over Civil Service North in yesterday’s delayed quarter-final at Stormont.

Niall McDonnell scored more than half the runs off the bat, he was seventh out for 81 as Brigade were bowled out for 169 off the penultimate ball of their innings which was reduced by rain to 37 overs. The home side’s target was revised upwards by Duckworth/ Lewis to 174 and already without captain Nigel Jones, travelling with the Ireland squad, when they lost professional Kieran Noema-Barnett for just eight, they were 24 for four.

Despite a fifth wicket stand of 56 between Paddy Fisher and Charles Beverland and an unbeaten 28 by Andrew McCulla on his return from university, Brigade didn’t let them off the hook.

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Starting tonight: Senior One (6.30pm): Glendermott v Strabane.

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