GILLESPIE TON INSPIRES STRABANE TO ERIC COOKE FINAL

A brilliant hundred from Aaron Gillespie helped Strabane to a surprisingly emphatic 98-run win at Newbuildings. The Red Caps’ captain bludgeoned 9 fours and 7 sixes in his 59-ball innings, reaching the landmark with a four and a six from the last two deliveries of the innings as they made 170.

Leg-spinner Tanvir Hassan’s five-wicket haul and three wickets for Rhys Logue saw Newbuildings skittled for just 72.

“It’s great to make it and to play in a final,” said Gillespie. “It’s one of your goals at the start of the season to try and go and compete in cup competitions as it’s not something that comes around often, so it’s something we’re very much looking forward to.

“It’ll be good for the guys to experience what it’s like to play in a final. We will learn a lot from it and it will help certainly help our development going forward. It has brought the team a lot of confidence to go and play with freedom which we’ve done this year. Hopefully we can convert that into the 40 overs league which we’ve struggled in with the bat but we’ve shown glimpses of what we are able to achieve with some close encounters during the time.”

Strabane were brought down to earth as Bready strengthened their grip at the top of Group A, winning by six wickets.

“After Friday night’s T20 performance which was probably our most complete performance to date we went into Saturday’s game with Bready very much high on confidence but it was just one of those days that was tough to take.

“We started off well with the bat but with Bready’s strength in their bowling attack we unfortunately struggled to gain any momentum and then Irosh just showed his class in the run chase on a tricky wicket to bat on.

“For me it was one of those days that you admit the better team won on the day and so we’re not going to dwell on the performance too much and put it behind us and focus on the next game.”

Strabane entertain Ardmore in the cup on Saturday, while on Sunday they have an away encounter at Bonds Glen.

KILLYCLOONEY REACH SPERRIN SPRINGS FINAL

On a night of surprises in the various T20 cups, Killyclooney continued that trend with a comprehensive mauling of highly fancied Coleraine, whom they beat by eight wickets chasing a modest 125 with half centuries from Alan Colhoun and Timmy Dougherty.

Killyclooney have produced some excellent individual displays over the past two seasons and captain Timmy Dougherty is pleased that the team is peaking towards the business end of the campaign.

“The team is finally starting to click after a hard start to the season,” said Dougherty. “We will be looking forward to having a chance to add some silverware when we take on St Johnston in what is always a great day out. We hope to give our fans something back in return for their support every week.”

The North West have yet to confirm arrangements for the various T20 finals, although it is expected that the Faughan Valley decider between Eglinton and Brigade will take place at Eglinton on Sunday July 25th.

Killyclooney have an away tie at Ballyspallen in the senior cup on Saturday, while the next day they face a tough clash at Group B leaders Eglinton.