Rory Knox (CricketEurope
Coleraine and Fox Lodge fought out a low scoring affair in the Premier League at Sandal Lodge, with Coleraine winning by three wickets.
Fox Lodge opted to bat on a pitch that offered plenty of assistance for the bowlers but in truth it was the swinging ball that did the majority of the early damage as Fox Lodge slipped to 1 for 4, 6 for 5 and 38 for 8, with five of the top six registering ducks.
The Ballymagorry side were missing several regulars including top order stalwarts Brian Allen and Jason Milligan, and their experience was badly missed in the early onslaught by the Bannsiders opening attack.
Stephen Hutchinson clean bowled three batsmen with his left arm in-swing on the way to 3-5 while James Bellís breakthrough to the first XI gained further momentum as he bowled with accuracy and skill to claim 3-10.
Coleraine captain Stephen Hutchinson took three early wickets
Gareth Burnsí 3-15 highlighted an afternoon dominated by the fast bowlers.
That Fox Lodge scored 76 was thanks to counter-attacking innings by Jamie McIntyre (22) and Gareth Heywood (17*), for whom all was not lost at the halfway stage.
From a spectatorís perspective, this game was one for the purists as Coleraine exhausted 31.4 overs to earn victory over a Fox Lodge side that fought hard until the end.
Their eventual success relied heavily on Scott Campbellís 35 at the top of the order. He hit four fours in an innings marked by dogged defence and calculated risk in the pursuit of runs.
Matthew Hutchinsonís 16 not out was no less significant, helping Coleraine ride a collapse from 46-2 to 67-7 to seal the win, slow left armer Adam Boyd (3-17), Jonny Robinson (3-14) and Aaron Heywood (1-8) suffocated the Coleraine middle order.
The win means that Coleraine (31) are now three points adrift from Fox Lodge (34) in 7th place.
Sunday's scheduled Sammy Jeffrey Cup game fell by the wayside, as did all the Senior Cup matches, leaving the NW Union with a major fixtures headache.
A reworking of the remainder of the season's schedule is in the pipeline with a new programme for the last month of the campaign expected to be announced in the next few days.