Thompson and Smyth star in Eglinton win
Bready, with an Ulster Cup final against Waringstown just a sleep away entertained Eglinton and here too it was a story of the batting side dominating from the front.
Ironically the bowlers also made early inroads in this one as Craig Young, Ryan Barr and David Scanlon combined to reduce the villagers to 55 for 3 before- again, just as at Ballymagorry- a superb partnership took the game away from the hosts.
Stuart Thompson and Stephen Smyth were the aggressors for Christopher Pierce's men and the former and current Irish Internationals held court as the Bready bowlers toiled. Thompson was at his brilliant best and, just as his Warriors skipper was doing elsewhere, sent out a timely reminder to the Ireland selectors that he has plenty to offer on the big stage.
He crashed 14 fours and 2 sixes on his way to a fantastic 127 and shared in a 185-run stand with the inimitable Smyth that took Eglinton out of reach. Having shown less aggression than Thompson throughout, the left hander still had no intention on missing out on his own “ton” and he timed it perfectly in keeping with his knock.
With just two balls of the innings to go the former Ireland batsman was still seven runs short of three figures so he thumped the penultimate delivery for 6 and then settled for a single off the last, almost as if he was dictating the script. An unbeaten century coupled with Thompson's efforts allowed the villagers to close on a mammoth 287 for 5, Ernest Kemm easily the pick of the bowling with 2 for 37 from his 10 overs.
Bready's response was low-key to begin with, David Barr removed by Andy Millar in the very first over before David Rankin (14) and Andrew Austin (18) tried to consolidate. To be fair, the middle order upped the ante- first a patient half century from Kemm followed by decent efforts from Darren Moore (43), Robert Spence (24) and Craig Young (20) but at no point did Bready look like getting 288.
Stephen McCloskey was introduced into the attack as the home side chased an ever-increasing run rate and the spinner took 3 for 28 to keep his side in front. There were two wickets as well for Millar and Mark Averill and despite a respectable effort from Scanlon's outfit this was always going to be a defeat.
Two extremely valuable points for Eglinton these as it moves them clear of the bottom couple of places for now, albeit Ardmore had played a game less. On a day when Fox Lodge's Premier Division status began to look precarious at best however, the villagers will be resting a little easier as the season heads towards the home straight.
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