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Brigade lead way as league's top four take it to the max

 

By Ian Callender

There may still be five rounds of matches left in the Long's SuperValu Premiership but the top four places - and many would argue the winners - have all but been decided after maximum-point victories in all four games on Saturday.

Runaway leaders Brigade made it nine wins out of nine with a 10-wicket victory over Glendermott - their Senior Cup final opponents in three weeks' time - after bowling out their neighbours for 88. Indeed, after taking six wickets for 17 runs to reduce the visitors to 55-8, Brigade appeared to take their foot off the pedal, just to give their batsmen some batting practice.

Openers Gareth McKeegan (59 not out), who survived a straightforward chance, and David Barr still knocked off the runs inside 15 overs.

Donemana were the first winners of the day, after dismissing Coleraine for 51 - Junior McBrine returning to play once again and, surprise, surprise, taking 4-16 - and it was all over just 8.1 overs later despite the loss of Bilawal Iqbal for a duck.

Second-place Bready still lead Donemana by two points - but are 68 points behind Brigade - after beating basement club Strabane by 109 runs, David Rankin hitting 123 of Bready's 272.

Eglinton put daylight between the top and bottom half with a 125-run win over fifth-place Ballyspallen, who were bowled out for 72, Stuart Thompson with figures of 6-3-9-3.

Meanwhile, CIYMS continued their dominance of the Robinson Services Premier League with a seven-wicket win over Civil Service North. James Cameron-Dow and Trevor Britton each took four wickets as the home side were bowled out for 85.

The teams meet again in the Challenge Cup semi-final next Saturday, as do Instonians and Muckamore who were also involved in a one-sided league match on Saturday, the Shaw's Bridge side winning by 171 runs.

It was Instonians' first win and it draws them level with the Moylena club, who collapsed from 49-2 to 71 all out.

Waringstown suffered a fourth successive defeat as North Down moved eight points clear in second place after chasing down 207 for the loss of four wickets and Carrick joined Lisburn on three wins with a four-wicket win at Middle Road.

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