It all started so well for Strabane at the weekend as skipper Aaron Gillespie took a liking to the Newbuildings attack as he and Kevin Gallagher shared a century stand and looked to be guiding the Red Caps to a total of 300. However, once Gillespie fell, the innings faltered badly and while a total of 224 was more than respectable, it proved woefully inadequate.

“It was a tough opening weekend with availability issues meaning six players were missing which isn’t ideal but that meant there was no pressure on us to go out and perform,” Gillespie told the Chronicle.

“That showed in the start setting a great platform getting to 165 after 20 overs only two down and at that stage we were confident get could get over 300. But just missing those key players put a stop to us kicking on but all in all we can take some great positives out of the match.

“It always a tough place to defend with the way that Mark Hanna and Ross Dougherty came out and played at the start just put us on the back foot straight away. With 100 on the board after just ten overs, it was always going to be difficult to come back from that. Still we have something to build on for the rest of the season.”

Strabane have a chance to kick-start their campaign with a home clash at The Park against Glendermott, who lost heavily to Brigade in the opener. While the Waterside side will have their overseas professional in their ranks, it appears that Strabane are still waiting on their Pakistani all-rounder who could well miss out for a second time.