CIYMS looked anything like champions-elect on Sunday and, worryingly, they were thrashed by nine wickets by Instonians, the one team who can catch them as the race for the Ulster Bank Premier League is set to go to the last weekend.
Victory for the Belmont side would have given them the championship with one game to play. Now, assuming Instonians beat Ballymena tonight (4.30pm) and Civil Service North on Saturday, CI will have to beat North Down in a 20 overs match next Sunday to win the title outright.
It is accepted by most — at least outside CI — that Instonians have been the best team this season, but for a no-result against Lisburn, it is Eugene Moleon who could be lifting the trophy.
They, at least, had the satisfaction of delaying the presentation with an emphatic all-round performance on a tired Belmont surface.
First their bowlers — well the five spinners in their armoury —rolled over the league leaders for 116 and then they knocked off the runs in 23.3 overs, James Shannon finishing the game with his third six from only his 13th ball.
Richard McCarthy, replacing Rory McCann at the top of the order, brought up his 100 runs for the weekend before he was given lbw, but John Stevenson, at the other end, stayed to the finish, scoring 58, including a rare six.
Shannon had finished the CI innings with a hat-trick and Zac Rushe also completed a hat-trick of sorts when he dismissed Jeremy Bray with his first ball, having taken two Waringstown wickets with his last two balls in the previous day’s win at The Lawn.
Shannon misses tonight’s rearranged game at Shaw’s Bridge as he heads off to captain Ireland A in Sussex, but Andrew White is available for the last time, before he flies out with the Ireland squad to the World Twenty20 tomorrow.
In yesterday’s other Premier League game, Glen Addicott hit 94 off 39 balls (10 sixes and five fours) as Waringstown beat Carrickfergus by 10 wickets to regain a share of third place.
Meanwhile, Muckamore won the inaugural RSA National Cup with a three wickets victory over Balbriggan in Milverton.
Ulster Bank Premier League
At Belmont, CIYMS 116 (45.5 overs, C Dougherty 21; J Shannon 4-19, Z Rushe 3-21, A White 2-9) Instonians 121-1 (23.3 overs, J Stevenson 58 not out, R McCarthy 28, J Shannon 25 not out). Instonians won by 9 wickets.
At The Lawn, Carrickfergus 130-3 (M Taiaroa 57 not out, M Gilmour 20 not out) Waringstown 131-0 (12.3 overs, G Addicott 94 not out, J Hall 33 not out). Waringstown won by 10 wickets.
RSA National Cup Final
At Milverton, Balbriggan 183-9 (A Harpur 60, B Archer 33, N Rooney 32, D Harpur 27; N Gill 3-42, T Neill 2-29) Muckamore 184-7 (48 overs, I Kamtekar 68, R Keates 34, N Gill 28; D Harpur 2-19, P Martin 2-31). Muckamore won by 3 wickets.