Title race wide open after top two beaten
TITLE RACE WIDE OPEN AFTER TOP TWO BEATEN
It is turning into quite a promotion battle at the top of the North West Championship at present after both leaders Glendermott and second placed Killyclooney were beaten on Saturday.
The Rectory men were at home to unpredictable Burndennett, the visitors fielding without three regular first-teamers but it was to make no difference to the outcome.
For once Roy Silva wasn't among the runs for the hosts- Charlie Elder (31), Andrew Baggley (28), Alan Johnson (27) and Curtis Ross (24) faring best for them in a total of 189 all out. Mark Roulston and Ross McCay shared six wickets between them for the visitors while Gerard McAuley added two more. Burndennett's reply was decisive with Mark Porter giving them a platform with his 55 (8 fours and 2 sixes) and McAuley weighing in with 38 (7 fours and a six).
It was left to skipper Roulston to bring it home however as he hit 10 fours and 2 sixes in his unbeaten 59, his team passing the winning post with 5 wickets to spare.
Killyclooney would have been favourites at Creevedonnell given their early season form however a Stephen Scroggie century was to pull the carpet from under them as well. Richard McMorris had made an excellent 73 as 'Clooney batted first while 43 from James Colhoun and 30 from his brother, Alan, had helped them to a decent total of 218 all out. There were three wickets apiece for Jack Glenn and Kyle Culbert for the hosts while Scroggie took 2-45 as well.
It was to be with the bat that the Creevedonnell skipper really made his mark however, 9 sixes and 12 fours in a highly entertaining 117 with support coming from Leighton McGarrigle who made 36 and Nicky Cooke 20. Lionel Barr with 4 for 28 was easily the pick of the Killyclooney bowling but despite his efforts, the home side had 3 wickets to spare at the end. This was some knock from former Brigade player Scroggie, his century all the more remarkable given he made it all with the assistance of a “runner”.
St Johnston are back in the picture too after they compounded Sion's problems with a 4-wicket win in Donegal. The visitors batted first with Johnny Havern top scoring as he made 31 however runs were scarce elsewhere. Ryan Macbeth bowled really well as he picked up 5 for 15 from his 9 overs while Kushpal Singh and Jassi Wallia split four more.
It has been symptomatic of their season so far however as once again the Mill side failed to get past 100, all out this time for 98. And once again they battled hard with the ball Christopher Havern, Glenn McCallan and Johnny Havern all picking up two wickets apiece to keep them interested in the second innings. Ethan Lapsley's 24 and the same score from Wallia however was enough to see the Saints over the line, just four points off the lead with a game in hand.
Drummond too will believe that they're still in the mix after Steve Moore's side comfortably saw off the challenge of Bonds Glen. Roy Robinson's 35 was the best the visitors had to offer with the bat while cameos from Ash Buchanan and David Robinson helped them get to a respectable 177 all out in their innings.
Unfortunately for the Bee Gees however both Chris Moore and Richard McDaid were in good touch with the bat- Moore hitting 81 and McDaid 44 as Drummond chased the target down for a 6-wicket win that just about keeps them in the hunt.
ARDMORE TO HOST FLEMING-AGRI/ ERIC COOKE MEMORIAL FINALS DAY
The draw for the quarter-finals of the Eric Cooke Memorial Plate was carried out at the weekend; competition sponsor Dan Penny doing the honours before Saturday's fixtures got under way. Competition rules state that teams finishing third in their T20 group would have home advantage in the last eight phase and the draw was as follows-
Newbuildings v Burndennett
St Johnston v Drummond
Killyclooney v Glendermott
Creevedonnell v Bonds Glen.
Dates for these ties to be confirmed shortly.
And on the subject of the T20 competition, the North West have announced that this year's finals day- the Fleming-Agri Faughan Valley Cup as well as the Eric Cooke Memorial competition would be held at Ardmore. A spokesman for the North West said that...”six grounds had applied to host finals day and any of them would have been very worthy recipients. The committee acknowledged however that the Bleachgreen had never been awarded any final before now and felt that the contribution that the club makes to the North West in terms of umpires, officials etc. warranted acknowledgement”. Ardmore are currently having work done to the ground that will result in the removal of the electricity pole at the far end of the field and they have agreed to make every effort to ensure that the access road into the car park is in the best possibble order as well. More details of finals day will be published in due course.
NEXT ON THE LIST
There's just three matches down for decision this coming Saturday with the pick of them likely to be at the Rectory where leaders Glendermott host Drummond. Gordon Montgomery's side haven't quite been at their best in recent weeks however a win here, against a sde that was expected to push them all the way this season would definitely make things interesting. Drummond have several players that the leaders will need to be wary of and one thing that does look assured is plenty of runs.
Killyclooney and St Johnston also lock horns in what could be a telling contest- these two sides bang in the mix themselves heading into the last lap in the title race. The visitors have once again been hampered by availability and much will depend on that as much as anything else but this too looks set to be a decent game.
The third match sees Sion Mills, now desperate for league points travel to a Burndennett side that toppled the league leaders last time out. Sion just can't get enough runs on the board and that more than anything is costing them dear. A win for Burndennett could see them go joint top depending on results elsewhere and they should be up to the task.
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