Champions turn on the style while Ballyspallen and Strabane reach National Cup semi-finals

There were just the three senior games on Sunday afternoon but no shortage of quality action on a day when Ardmore rediscovered their champions’ touch while Ballyspallen and Strabane carried the North West flag into the last four in this year’s National Cup.

Ardmore’s defence of the Premiership title hasn’t quite got off the ground in the first half of the season, but Rachit Gaur’s side certainly bared their teeth on Sunday as they hammered Bready by 214 runs at the Bleachgreen.

The visitors might have had one eye on their opponents batting collapse at home to Newbuildings 24 hours earlier when they asked their hosts to take first use again, but it was a decision they were left to rue.

Dharm Singh and skipper Gaur (47) put on 85 for the first wicket before Gaur and Harry Zimmermann fell in quick succession. That brought Aviwe Mgijima to the middle and the South African then joined opener Singh in a 154-run stand that took the game away from Ian Young’s side.

Dharm was finally out for a superb 102 (11 fours, 6 sixes) and with Mgijima on 70 and eight overs left, the big crowd was left waiting to see if he could go on to three figures himself. And they didn’t have long to wait for the answer!

From the last sixteen (legal) deliveries he faced, Aviwe hit 67 runs to finish on 144 not out; nine of them going for 6 and two more for fours in a fearsome display of death batting.

Bready were left reeling as Ardmore posted a whopping 349-3 from their 40 overs and as a contest, there was no way back from there.

David Rankin (27) and skipper Young (24) fared best in a reply of 135 all out on a day that the Magheramason side just have to draw a line under and move on.

Dharm helped himself to 3-28 to back up his ‘ton’ with Conor King (2-16), Ciaran Roundtree (2-28) and Gaur (2-35) all on the mark in a morale-boosting win for the 2023 champions.

In the National Cup, both Ballyspallen and Strabane are through to the semi-finals after they too recorded commanding wins over Sandyford and Templepatrick respectively.

The Red Caps trounced their NCU opponents by the full 10 wickets at the Park after Andrew Mullen (4-31), John Mooney (3-24) and Nasir Nawar combined to dismiss Templepatrick for just 87. Ben Cave top scored with 32 as the bowlers stayed firmly on top throughout.

Nawar hit 11 fours and a six in his 34-ball 62 not out with Muddy Rajput unbeaten on 18 at the other end as the home side needed less than 9 overs to finish the job.

Aditya Gupta top scored with 38 as Sandyford set ‘Spallen 163 to win in the Roe Valley, after openers Jawad Khan (31) and Rajesh Manirajan (30) had put on 48 for the first wicket.

Stephen Kennedy (3-21), James Cusack (3-43) and Dylan McElhinney (2-20) let the home team’s fightback after that, and skipper Kennedy’s team always looked in control in reply.

Kyle Morrow (36) and Andy Christie put on 64 for the first wicket with Christie (36 not out) keeping Tevyn Walcott company as he smashed 76 from 38 (7 sixes, 5 fours) to send their side into the last four.

That pair shared an unbroken stand worth 104 from just 69 balls for a 9-wicket success; West Indian Walcott backing up his century on Saturday with another scintillating effort here.


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