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Drummond take pole position in the face off with Fox Lodge in cricket's SuperValu Championship

By Ian Callender

It's advantage - and a huge one - to Drummond in the head to head with Fox Lodge for the Long's SuperValu Championship.

Not only is their final game, scheduled for Saturday, postponed but opponents Creevedonnell no longer have professional Jean Symes - the leading run scorer in the Championship - available for the game.

Creevedonnell are playing Newbuildings in the Sam Jeffrey Cup final tomorrow and Saturday - the first time the 50-over competition for Championship clubs has been played as a two-innings game.

So when Drummond play their league game, they will know exactly what they have to do, with run-rate to decide the title this season for the first time.

Drummond and Fox Lodge, who still have in-form professional Marco Marais available - he is second to Symes with 1,134 runs and the fourth leading wicket-taker with 31 - are currently locked together at the top of the table on 24 points.

Both have won 12 of their first 13 games, losing only to each other, but the Foxes will be hot favourites to win their final game of the regular season on Saturday at home to Killyclooney who are level on points with Creevedonnell.

If the teams finish level on points at the top - with the head to head between the teams the same - the difference in run-rate is only .006 (about 10 runs) between them going into the final games.

So Drummond will know exactly the margin of victory they would need against the 'Donnell to win the Championship and automatic promotion to the Premiership.

There will be a second chance for the runners-up as they will play the seventh team in the Premiership with promotion still the prize and that position seems set to go the final day with just four points separating the bottom three in the top flight, each with three matches remaining.

St Johnston are currently two points adrift at the bottom ahead of their game at home to Strabane on Saturday, while Bready, immediately above them, host Donemana.

Ardmore are still looking over the shoulders but another win will ensure safety - although on Saturday it's a home game against leaders Coleraine who are two points and a healthy run-rate clear of Brigade.

In the Ulster Bank Premier League, it's North Down v Waringstown at The Green in the top of the table clash when a win for the home side will open up an eight points gap.

CIYMS, beaten by North Down on Sunday, will expect to pick up four points against Ballymena who are now joint bottom with Carrickfergus.

Fixtures Today Ulster Bank League Section One: Cliftonville v Donacloney (2pm), Derriaghy v Muckamore (20 overs, 5pm).

Tomorrow: (11.00) Premier League: Carrickfergus v Instonians, CIYMS v Ballymena, Lisburn v Civil Service North, North Down v Waringstown. Sunday: Lisburn v Waringstown, Carrickfergus v Civil Service North (20 overs)

Section One: Bangor v Cliftonville, Donacloney v Derriaghy, Downpatrick v Lurgan, Muckamore v Woodvale, Templepatrick v Academy. Sunday: Lurgan v Academy.

Section Two: Drumaness v Cregagh, Dundrum v BISC, Holywood v Armagh, Laurelvale v Larne, Saintfield v Victoria

Section Three: Cooke Collegians v Monaghan, Donaghadee v Ards, Dunmurry v Millpark, Newforge v Dungannon. Sunday: Newforge v Dunmurry

Long's SuperValu Premiership (noon): Ardmore v Coleraine, Bready v Donemana, Brigade v Eglinton, St Johnston v Strabane

Championship: Drummond v Creevedonnell, Fox Lodge v Killyclooney, Glendermott v Burndennett, Newbuildings v Bonds Glen

Sunday: O'Neill's Ulster Cup final (noon) North Down v Instonians

Belfast Telegraph


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