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Bready close in on title with Strabane win

 

By Ian Callender

Bready could be one win away from their first ever Premiership title after winning the top of the table clash with Strabane.

If David Scanlon's side beat Coleraine next weekend, and claim two more points than Strabane get at Eglinton, then the celebrations can begin at Magheramason on Saturday with two games to spare.

After slipping up against defending champions Donemana in their previous league game, Bready bounced back with a 74 runs victory over Strabane, Andy Lucas and Craig Young sharing seven wickets as the Red Caps were bowled out for 159.

It needed the captain's intervention with the bat, however, to rescue the leaders from the perils of 89-6 but as he has done so often this season, including batting at No 11 for the North West Warriors, Scanlon proved the immovable object with 69 not out, as he added 62 for the seventh wicket with Craig Young (34) and a unbeaten ninth wicket stand of 73 with Andy Lucas (38 not out).

If Bready slip up on Saturday, they will have another chance to clinch the title on Sunday when they travel to Senior Cup holders Brigade but the Beechgrove side have a winning momentum which continued yesterday when they won the cup final rematch with Eglinton by seven wickets.

Spinners Jonny Robinson and Ifti Hussain shared seven wickets as Eglinton were bowled out for 119 and with Gareth Keegan hitting 60 from 44 balls, with five sixes and four fours, Brigade knocked off the runs inside 22 overs. Skipper Andy Britton bowled only three overs at the weekend, one on Saturday and two yesterday, as he rested his sore arm, injured in the cup final when he was hit by Stuart Thompson. But with the slow bowlers in control he wasn't required.

A boost for Bready if needed next weekend is that Brigade will be without Johnny Thompson, the former Ireland A all-rounder, who will be serving the second of a two-match suspension on Sunday. Coleraine moved into second place with a two wickets win over Donemana although they made it more exciting than it should have been, losing four wickets for 10 runs, after the loss of Marcus Poskitt for 66, with just 13 required for victory.

Decker Curry was given out lbw for 84 as he continues his quest for that elusive 100th career century but he still helped Ardmore to a maximum points victory over Eglinton and move within five points of seventh place Fox Lodge.

Individual performance of the day came at Killyclooney where the home side's professional, Andre Henry hit 225 from just 91 balls with 20 fours and 22 sixes.

He was fifth out with the total on 339 and 'Clooney still amassed 466-9 against Drummond who replied with 184 in 23 overs, but they lost all 10 wickets.

Scores: At Beechgrove, Brigade (24pts) beat Eglinton (1pt) by 7 wickets. Eglinton 119 (36.2 overs, R Allen 37, M Erlank 32, J Robinson 4-16, I Hussain 3-12, K Magee 2-12) Brigade 121-3 (21.4 overs, G McKeegan 60, D Barr 23, D Murdock 23 not out, R Wylie 2-30).

Belfast Telegraph

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