Ardmore, Brigade set to scrap out title race
We’re down to two in this year’s title race after Ardmore all but ended Killyclooney’s title chances with a 7-wicket win in a top-of-the-table battle at the Tyrone venue.
The home side were certainly feeling the ‘post-Blayde blues’ as they were bowled out for just 83 by the new league leaders- Cody Mehaffey’s 18 and 16 from Jordan Nelson the best of their modest total.
Muhammad Edrees was the pick of Ardmore’s bowlers with 5-15; support coming from Conor Brolly (3-18) and Harry Zimmermann (2-12).
The visitors wasted little time in knocking off the required runs as Rachit Gaur made 25 and Zimmermann 18 not out in a very comfortable success.
With Brigade not playing until Sunday, Bready took the opportunity to move into third as they finished their 2023 season with an 8-wicket home win over Glendermott.
Alan Johnson’s 25 was the highlight of the Rectory outfit’s 96 all out, as Nathan McCombe took three wickets in four balls for his figures of 4-5.
Gavin Roulston chipped in with 2-27 while Kyle Magee’s unbeaten 54 saw Bready stroll to the points.
Potentially the biggest story of the day was Burndennett’s 5-wicket win at Fox Lodge.
The visitors had failed to record a victory in any of their 13 league games to date, but produced a stunning display to finally get that ‘W’ in their last outing of the summer.
Half centuries from Craig Doherty (52 including 6 sixes and 2 fours) and Brian Allen (51) along with 35 from Gayan Maneeshan and 18* from skipper Aaron Heywood saw the hosts set 199-8 from their 40 overs.
Mark Pollock, Derek Curry and Andy Barr all claimed two wickets apiece, but for once the ‘Dennett’s batting wasn’t found wanting in reply.
Pollock hit an even-time 74 (7 fours, 2 sixes) with Niall McDonnell (36 not out), Corey Roulston (35) and Barr (21) combining to frustrate the Foxes’ attack.
A big win for Conan Pollock’s team this, but an awful defeat for Fox Lodge who absolutely have to beat Coleraine on Sunday to keep their Premier Division hopes alive.
The Bannsiders saw to their business on Saturday with a 71-run victory over Ballyspallen.
Ravi Karunaratne’s 79 and 27 from Matty Smyth were the highlights of the home side’s batting in a total of 161 all out.
Stuart Kennedy (3-24), Zeeshan Malik (2-31) and Clive Rodgers (2-34) fared best of ‘Spallen’s attack, but only Malik (49) offered much resistance in a reply of 90 all out.
Ravi added figures of 4-19 with Dawood Khan claiming 2-1 and James Bell 2-16 as Coleraine warmed up for Sunday’s big clash with a solid performance.
Eglinton’s second half of the season form has seen them race safely into the top eight and the villagers were involved in an incredible finish at St Johnston.
Chasing a fairly modest 129, Tommy Orr’s side found themselves reduced to 87-9 in reply before an unbroken 46-run last wicket stand between Jamie Millar and Dylan Young saw them just over the line.
Millar hit 6 fours and 4 sixes in his excellent 70 not out but credit his partner too as he faced 27 deliveries for his single run to hold down an end.
Graeme McCarter’s 5-19 and 3-13 from Michael Rankin seemed to have set the Saints on their way to another win after David Anthony (43) and Ian Macbeth (22) topped the batting card.
Millar had earlier claimed 3-31 with Josh Martin, Mark Averill and Mattie Mills all adding two wickets apiece to keep the Donegal side at arm’s length, however it was all about the last wicket stand as Eglinton put themselves in a great position to qualify for next year’s top flight.
Newbuildings are all but there too after a very comfortable 8-wicket win at home to Bonds Glen.
An unbroken third wicket stand of 115 between Jason Dunn (68*) and Ryan Hunter (57*) proved to be plenty as the hosts chased down the Bee Gees’ 132.
David Cooke made 51 and Raymond Curry 32 with ‘Bull’ helping himself to 4-21, Ross Hunter 3-19 and Charlie Downey 2-20 in an impressive win.
Donemana have edged closer as well, after the McBrine brothers inspired a spectacular collapse by Strabane’s batting order at the Holm.
An excellent effort from Aaron Gillespie, who made 81 (8 fours, 5 sixes) and 35 from Kevin Gallagher (35) saw the Red Caps reach 122-2 batting first.
The introduction of William (5-25) and Andy (3-11) turned the game on its head after that however, and once they got Gillespie, the deck folded in double quick time with just seven more runs added in a total of 129 all out.
The Irish International was among the runs as well- McBrine’s 47 with 33* from William McClintock and 30 from Gary seeing them post a 6-wicket success that leaves Donemana well in control of their own destiny now.
There were two trophies handed out on Saturday as well with The Nedd presented with the League 1 trophy after an excellent season for the Ballykelly side.
Brigade II’s went into their final game of the season against North Fermanagh needing only 3 bonus points to claim the League 2 title.
Anything else would have seen the visitors take the trophy home with them and in a real nail-biter, the Beechgrove side just managed by the skin of their teeth to get the bonus points they needed despite losing the game.
The match marked the final appearances of Mark Simpson and Thomas Nelson who are both retiring at the end of this season and it was fitting that Mark took a wicket with his final ball as Fermanagh posted a huge 267 in their 40 overs.
Despite a few decent knocks from both teams, Brigade looked dead and buried before ‘Tucker’ capped his farewell with a 28-ball 50 not out that gave his side those vital bonus points.
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