WHAT a thrilling afternoon’s cricket we had on Sunday past as both Donemana and Bready defied the odds to progress to the semi-finals of this year’s O’Neill’s Ulster Cup.
Both had home ties against strong Northern opposition in Lisburn and North Down respectively but it was the manner of the wins that will have pleased the two camps most.
Donemana were out on their feet- stunned by a double century from Zimbabwean Craig Ervine but as we always know with Donemana, they’re at their most dangerous when you think you’ve got them beaten.
Andy McBrine started the revival with the mantle then taken up by Junior, however it was to be the swinging bat of Richard Dougherty that was to bring joy to the big home crowd.
You couldn’t have written the script- the man who got 200 not out bowling to a guy only in the side to cover for his son and only needing to prevent him belting the ball out of the park to seal the win.
Mind you, Richard Dougherty has rarely ever dealt in anything other than sixes and there were few surprised faces around when Ervine’s final delivery disappeared into the evening sky.
Things were a little more cultured at Bready but take nothing away from the manner in which David Scanlon’s vastly improved side saw off the challenge of the highly-regarded Comber team.
Ernest Kemm is showing himself to be a very decent professional in the past few weeks and the return to action of David Rankin is a huge fillip for the Magheramason club.
In this kind of form anything is possible for Bready this season and a CIYMS side that contains a few familiar faces will not be relishing their trip over the Glenshane.