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Instonians on mission to extend title advantage

By Ian Callender

Instonians have moved quickly to ensure they do not have an idle Saturday while defending Premier League champions Waringstown are playing in the Irish Cup final.

The top two were originally due to meet in the league tomorrow at Shaw's Bridge but, instead, Instonians will play their outstanding home game against CIYMS, hoping to increase their four-point advantage at the top of the table, ahead of their rearranged clash on Tuesday.

The captains brought that game forward to last Sunday but it failed to get started because of the weather and now the possible league decider is reduced to a 20-over shoot-out - weather permitting.

Instonians will be taking nothing for granted tomorrow against a CI side starting to string a few wins together.

Indeed, with the help of three half centuries by Chris Dougherty, they have won all four games since losing the Challenge Cup final and have managed to do what neither Waringstown or Instonians have done recently - beat Carrickfergus.

It is Carrick that Derriaghy must defeat tomorrow to improve their chances of beating the drop. A ninth defeat will leave them at least four points adrift of Civil Service North, having played two games more and with only two left.

The North West title race seems set to go to the wire with five teams still in contention, including a Donemana team not in action this weekend but with five games still to play.

Eglinton are the surprise leaders and will maintain their two-point advantage with victory at home to Brigade, while their closest challengers, Coleraine and Ardmore, meet at Sandel Lodge.

Tomorrow: Irish Cup final (11.30am): Waringstown v Merrion (Clontarf).

Ulster Bank Premier League (11am): Derriaghy v Carrickfergus, Instonians v CIYMS, North Down v Civil Service North. Sunday: CIYMS v Lisburn, Civil Service North v Derriaghy.

Section One: Bangor v Donaghcloney, Downpatrick v Saintfield, Lurgan v Academy, Muckamore v Ballymena.

Section Two: Cregagh v Laurelvale, Millpark v Cliftonville, Templepatrick v Dundrum. Sunday: Cooke Collegians v BISC.

Long's SuperValu Premiership (noon): Bready v Drummond, Coleraine v Ardmore, Eglinton v Brigade.

Championship: Bonds Glen v Burndennett, Fox Lodge v Killyclooney, Glendermott v Ballyspallen, St Johnston v Newbuildings. Sunday: Ballyspallen v Fox Lodge.

Sunday: National Cup final (11.30am): Rush v Laois.

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