Merrion increased their advantage at the top of Division One but only by a point as nearest challengers YMCA edged past Pembroke in the big match of the day which lived up to expectations.

However, the leading performances did not come from the expected sources with in-form Andrew Balbirnie, opening the batting for Pembroke on a rare weekend home, caught for 10 and Trent Johnston, back in the YM line-up, bowled for just one in reply.

At the fall of Johnstonís wicket, YM were 112 for six in pursuit of Pembrokeís 165 but a partnership of 41 between Aaron Bailey and Sean McAuley put the home side back on track. There was a further twist when rain reduced the second innings to 47 overs while the victory target came down by just three runs but YM were so far ahead that they won with almost eight overs and three wickets to spare.

Johnston did make his usual contribution with the ball for YM, finishing with one for 23 in his 10 overs while Yaqoob Ali ripped out the Pembroke tail, taking five of the last six wickets which fell for 23 runs.

Merrion batted only 41 overs, bowled out for 185 by North County, but they were still 64 runs too good for the visitors, as captain Dom Joyce took four for 20.

At the other end of the table, Terenure remain rooted to the bottom after being dismissed for 122 by The Hills who won by seven wickets and Railway Union are still in the other relegation place after losing by the same margin to Senior Cup finalists Clontarf.

Malahide, their opponents in next Saturdayís 60-over decider, eased past Balbriggan by seven wickets but have been caught at the top of Division Two by Cork County who bowled out Merrion 2 for 92.