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Inst and Villagers share trophy

By David Mason

North Down missed the chance to make it an historic three-way tie at the summit of the Ulster Bank Premier League when Civil Service North completed their astonishing finale to the season, with yet another victory.

Bottom of the table just four weeks ago, CSN made it six wins in seven matches, including back- to-back victories over joint champions Instonians and, yesterday, a 69 runs win over North Down.

The Comber side went into the match needing victory to get a third hand on the championship trophy but in pursuit of CSN's 179, they collapsed from 49 without loss to 110 all out.

The run out of Nick Larkin, which reduced North Down to 84 for four, was the wicket that settled their destiny and Jason van der Merwe then polished off the tail, finishing with four wickets.

It was the second day in a row that Nigel Jones' side had been party-poopers. On Saturday, an Instonians victory would have given them the title outright for only the second time in their history, but with five members of the winning 1962 side as guests they were bowled out for 111 and an unbeaten 55 off 48 balls from Jones hurried CSN to victory.

Instonians skipper Eugene Moleon announced his retirement after the game – not because of the defeat he was quick to add, this was his sixth success as captain – but he received the trophy yesterday after the game at Stormont, along with Kyle McCallan, the Waringstown captain. He had ensured the Villagers a share of the trophy with an unbeaten 63 as they beat Lurgan by nine wickets to condemn their mid-Ulster rivals to an immediate return to Section One.

In the North West, Ardmore will return to the big time next season after winning promotion from the Championship with a thumping 172 runs win over Bonds Glen yesterday.

Andrew Riddles came in at No 7, with the score on 55, and scored 146 off 110 balls with 17 fours and three sixes, sharing an unbeaten stand of 172 with George Brolly. They finished on 323 for eight.

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