WHAT a difference a year can make in sport and there were two shining examples of that in the North West on Sunday afternoon. Exactly 12 months ago, Bready Cricket Cricket Club were staring the very real possibility of automatic relegation square in the face. A huge weekend in which they beat the Premier Division’s top two, Coleraine and Brigade, in consecutive days turned their fortunes around just in the nick of time, however they still had to navigate a play-off with St Johnston before they could finally breathe easily.
Fast forward to Sunday past then and skipper David Scanlon cut a very proud figure as he cradled the O’Neill’s Ulster Cup courtesy of a thumping win over NCU Premier Division leaders, Waringstown. Yet while he savoured the taste of success, the Bready bowler conceded that his post-match talk with the team was about demanding more.
“I told them that if we used this performance as a gauge then there would be more trophies and I fully believe there is a North West title in this team. “We had just beaten one of the best club sides in Ireland and did so in some style, so that is where the barrier is set now”.
Of the match itself the Bready captain felt that it had been won in the second half of his side’s innings.
“The ball was turning square early on and they are very dangerous in those conditions. That made David Barr’s knock all the more impressive but after 10 or 12 overs you could see the pitch changing and becoming more placid. McCollum and Mitchell bowled very well late on in the innings but Waringstown will probably feel they missed a trick by not bringing them on earlier.
”It was seaming by that point so we were happy enough to play the spinners and take what runs we could after a slow enough start.
“Momentum is a big thing in cricket and we definitely felt that it was with us at the half way point as we had probably got quite a few more runs on the board than they would have counted on.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing I know but that’s where I feel we won the game. We were certainly pleased with what we had in the bank and I fancied our attack to defend them in those seam-friendly conditions. They have so many quality players though that you have to keep the squeeze on and that’s exactly what we did. Although they were losing wickets I still expected someone to come in and calm things down- take the ones and twos- rotate the strike, but nobody did.
“Mind you I was still glad to see the back of Gary Kidd and Greg Thompson as those two could easily have taken the match away from us if we had let them.
“I was stunned at how easily we wrapped things up if I’m honest but I’m absolutely delighted that we got our disciplines spot on. The key thing for us now is to build on this and to make sure that it isn’t one isolated success. This team should be competing for trophies every year and hopefully we can use this win to go on to many more.”