It’s been a great start to the season for Strabane Women, who followed up their nail-biting Premiership win over Newbuilding, with a hard-fought cup win on Sunday, as Emma Doherty and Nicola Mullen led them to a 9-run victory over Coleraine.

Head Coach Michael Gillespie is delighted that their hard work is paying dividends, but acknowledges it is just the start of a long road ahead.

“I’d like to start off by saying that as lead coach, they are a pleasure to work with because they are very committed and they take in everything they are taught,” said Gillespie.

“The leadership group of Captain Chloe Deans and vice-captain Kylie McGarrigle have bonded brilliantly with the players, who seem to be thriving in this particular environment.

Across our two women’s teams, we have a real mixture of experienced and inexperienced players.

“We’ve had an amazing start to the season by beating a very talented Newbuildings team, in the Division 1 league and on our first very Sunday game, a really top class Coleraine team in the Division 1 Cup.

“But keeping our feet on the ground, we realise that playing wise, we are still a little behind some of the stronger women’s teams, although we are beginning to witness the fruits of some very intensive work that’s been carried out over the last few years, in the performances of players such as Chloe and Courtney Deans, Emma Doherty, Hazel Britton, Kylie McGarrigle and Nicola Mullen.

“The younger players such as Abaígh Gillespie, Abbey Gale McGarrigle, Aimee-Lee Finlay, Sophie McGranaghan and Charlie Finlay are beginning to have a real impact on games. And new players such as Amy McLoone, Arlene Mullan and Danielle Todd have been a real breath of fresh air to the playing group.

“We’ve worked with Kathryn Rough at the North West Cricket’s Participation and Development Officer to allow our playing group to compete in both leagues (Division 1 & 2) and this will greatly help the performances of the experienced players and the development of the inexperienced players.”