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Waringstown clinch title by the tightest of margins

 

By Ian Callender

Waringstown are the Gardiner Bros Premier League champions without having to play their last game of the season. Opponents Lisburn called in an independent umpire to inspect Wallace Park last night, and he declared the ground unplayable for cricket so, by 0.2 of a run, the Villagers have finished top of the table, level on points with CIYMS.

The Belmont side defeated Waringstown in their final game two weeks ago, at The Lawn, completing the double over the champions, but took five balls too long to reach their target, otherwise they would have been celebrating the league title.

Instead, it is Waringstown who have made it a four-trophy season, with the Irish Senior Cup, the Ulster Cup and the NCU T20 Cup already safely in the pavilion.

Greg Thompson's side lost two of their first three games, but a winning run of nine saw them hit the front and it was CI's defeat to North Down, the day before they won at The Lawn, which has ultimately proved crucial.

CI finished with four batsmen in the top 12 runs scorers for the season - Waringstown had only one - and four in the top dozen wicket-takers, as opposed to just two from the champions, but it was the depth in batting which proved crucial.

Adam Dennison was the club's top run scorer with 710 but James Hall, James McCollum and Thompson all scored over 400 while Kyle McCallan, at the age of 42, was Waringstown's leading wicket-taker with 30 at the second best average and best economy in the league.

Waringstown will receive the trophy - for the second time in three years - at a club function at The Lawn next Friday

Meanwhile, the Long's SuperValu promotion/relegation play-off between Fox Lodge and Ballyspallen, due to be played today, has also been postponed because Beechgrove is unplayable after the week's rain. They will try again tomorrow.

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