Instonians take title race down to the wire
Instonians last night set up a winner-take-all Premier League decider against Waringstown with a comfortable eight-wickets win over Lisburn at Wallace Park.
The Shaw's Bridge side are now level on points with the Villagers with only the final game between the two sides to come on Saturday week.
An Instonians win would give them the league title outright for only the second time – the previous one was 52 years ago – while Waringstown would win the title on the field for the first time since 2000.
Against an under-strength Lisburn side, there was never any real doubt about the result – Waringstown were so resigned to the outcome that not a single member turned up at Wallace Park to spectate – and Lisburn scored only 98 for seven in their 20 overs.
It would have been much worse but for James Magowan, who put off his trip to England by 24 hours to play in the match. The No 3 batsman scored 42, from 37 balls, with five fours and a six, three of the boundaries to consecutive deliveries from Zach Rushe.
A reverse sweep off Eugene Moleon followed, but attempting the same stroke later in the over proved Magowan's downfall and from 70 for five in the 14th over, the rest of the line-up failed to bring up the 100, despite a defiant 19 not out from Richard McConkey.
Instonians lost skipper Neil Russell in the second over and opening partner Eric Layard in the eighth, but Nicolai Smith and Andrew White saw them to victory at the end of the 16th without being parted.
Scores: At Wallace Park, Lisburn 98-7 (20 overs, J Magowan 42, A White 2-16, E Moleon 2-23) Instonians 100-2 (16 overs, N Smith 38 not out, A White 21 not out).
Instonians won by 2 wickets.