It’s advantage Brigade after Ryan Macbeth’s late pyrotechnics ensured they take a healthy 55-run lead over Newbuildings into the second day of the North West Senior Cup final at Eglinton.

In a dramatic final over of the day, Macbeth cleared the ropes three times in succession, before thumping another boundary from the last ball of the innings on his way to 24 from six balls – Hanu Viljoen the unfortunate bowler – as 25 came from the South African professional’s over.

It put the gloss on a solid Brigade reply, which for the majority of the innings adopted a low-risk approach after they had bowled out Newbuildings for 178.

Trent McKeegan dismissed Iftikhar Hussain cheaply much to the delight of the sizeable Newbuildings support, but a second wicket partnership of 111 between David Barr and Adam McDaid meant there was little else to cheer for the next 31 overs.

Barr top-scored with 58 (5 fours), while McDaid’s 53 included 7 boundaries as they blunted the bowling on a pitch and conditions that always offered assistance.

Cameron Melly hit a breezy 33 from 30 balls (4 fours), while there were also double figure contributions from Scott Macbeth (18) and skipper Andy Britton (16).

There was a feeling that perhaps Andy Britton’s side could have pressed the accelerator earlier, not taking the lead until the last ball of the 45th over.

The approach though eventually delivered the sort of lead that Brigade would have wanted when they won the toss and inserted Newbuildings, with an additional 54 coming in the last five overs.

Batting first, Newbuildings opener Mark Hanna (8) went early, and when Jason Dunn and Hanu Viljoen fell in Scott Macbeth’s first and third over, they were struggling at 58 for 3.

Former Brigade player Ryan Hunter looked solid throughout his innings, and together with Ross Dougherty set about laying a platform.

Hunter drove and cut powerfully, hitting seven fours as he top-scored with 57 from 88 balls, sharing a fourth wicket partnership of 69 with Ross Dougherty (40).

At 127 for 3 in the 33rd over, Newbuildings would have been targeting a total well over 200, but spinners David Barr (3-32) and Scott Macbeth (4-32) took a combined seven wickets to put the brakes on.

Too often, the batsmen took the aerial route and perished, with Ryan Barr taking three catches in the deep, including Hunter, Gareth McKeegan and the enigmatic Johnny Thompson – the latter two striking the only two sixes of the day until Ryan Macbeth’s late blitzkrieg.
“We’re delighted to have a fairly sizable lead,” said Andy Britton at the close. “That last over hitting from Ryan was fantastic.

“Still, we are fully aware it’s only the halfway point of the game, with a lot of cricket still to be played. I expect Newbuildings to come at us hard, and we will be ready.
“I thought the bowlers stuck to their task, with Scott Macbeth and DD Barr both doing well, backed up by us holding the catches, which was vital. We will look for more of the same in the second innings.”

Play gets underway today (SAT) at 11am.
NW Senior Cup final, Day 1 close
Newbuildings 178 (46 overs; Ryan Hunter 57, R Dougherty 40, G McKeegan 25; S Macbeth 4-32, D Barr 3-32, R Macbeth 2-14)
Brigade 233/6 (50 overs; D Barr 58, A McDaid 53, C Melly 33, R Macbeth 24*; R Dougherty 2-31, H Viljoen 2-56)
Brigade lead Newbuildings by 55 runs, Day 2 Saturday starts at 11am.