Instonians joined Waringstown at the top of the Ulster Bank Premier League after completing a weekend double with victory over Woodvale at Ballygomartin Road yesterday.
With the Villagers losing to North Down at The Green, the teams are level on 13 wins each, Instonians with two games to play and Waringstown with just one — the title decider against Instonians at The Lawn..
Instonians’ victory yesterday means that North Down’s only hope of retaining a share of the title is if they win their last two games and Instonians lose to CIYMS next Saturday and the game against Waringstown is a ‘no result’.
But the fine weather at the weekend allowed Instonians to continue their pursuit of the league and Challenge Cup double.
An eight wickets win over Lisburn was followed by an equally straightforward success at Woodvale. They lost five wickets, reaching their victory target of 80 in the 20/20 game, but opener Rory McCann played the anchor role, finishing 30 not out and Instonians won with three overs to spare.
Ireland internationa l Andrew White was Instonians’ best with three for 15 as Woodvale were bowled out with five balls unused, only three batsmen reaching double figures.
North Down’s title hopes were dealt a probable fatal blow on Friday when they crashed to a 22 runs defeat to Civil Service North at Stormont but they bounced back with an 80 runs victory over CIYMS on Saturday and then an equally convincing 78 runs win over morning leaders Waringstown.
Taimur Khan’s unbeaten 55 from No 5 had finished off CI and it was Johnny Terrett, with an identical score from the same batting position, which did for the Villagers.
The Comber side scored 101 off the last 10 overs to total 169 for seven, despite Gary Kidd taking three for 15 in his four overs and Waringstown never threatened once Kyle McCallan, batting at No 3, was bowled by Taimur for six. From 54 for two, the visitors slumped to 63 for seven and they were 91 all out in 16.3 overs.
CSN’s late-season resurgence continued yesterday with a 53 runs win over Carrickfergus at Stormont. Home captain Nigel Jones batted through the 20 overs to finish 75 not out and shared a second wicket stand of 98 with fellow Ireland international Regan West (49) as they totalled 152 for two.
Once Ross Gelderbloem was dismissed for 36 to leave Carrick 72 for two, Carrick’s last hope was gone and Conal Goodall made sure for CSN with three wickets in two overs.
With CIYMS and Woodvale both losing their only match at the weekend, there was no change at the bottom. CI are still two points above their rivals for the second relegation place, each team have two games to play.