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North Down on revenge mission at Coleraine

By Ian Callender

North Down captain Ryan Haire did not get the home advantage he wanted, but at least avoided Leinster opposition in the RSA Irish Cup quarter-finals.

The two remaining Northern Ireland clubs were paired together – North West Championship side St Johnston must travel to face holders Clontarf – in a repeat of last year's Ulster Cup semi-final with Coleraine, who won by nine runs, again having home advantage.

In the other ties, last year's beaten finalists Merrion face Pembroke and Railway Union, who have yet to complete a match after bowl-out victories over Instonians and Waringstown, have home advantage for the first time against Bready's conquerors, The Hills.

In the National Cup, the draw favoured the NCU with both Carrickfergus and Woodvale given home games against Co Galway and Laois respectively, while Cliftonville will head north west to meet the area's only survivors, Killyclooney.

Last night Instonians posted the highest ever total in the Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 Cup to reach the semi-finals with a crushing 128 runs victory over hapless Ballymena.

Their total of 219 for two, which beat North Down's 207 for three in the 2006 final, was dominated by a sensational stand of 191 between skipper Neil Russell and Ireland international James Shannon.

Russell, who was 32 not out at half way, finished on 117 from just 55 balls with 12 sixes and only two fours while Shannon scored 65 in the last 10 overs to finish 78 not out from 39 balls with five sixes and six fours.

Ballymena, who were able to include professional Yogesh Takawale for the first time, batted out the overs but once the Indian ace, just arrived from the Indian Premier League, was dismissed for 12, it was game over, the only one completed in either the NCU or North West after yesterday's downpours.

Last night scores: Lagan Valley Steels Cup: At Shaw's Bridge, Instonians 219-2 (N Russell 117 not out, J Shannon 78 not out; F Taylor 2-28) Ballymena 91-7 (M Glass 22 not out; N Smith 2-7, R White 2-15). Instonians won by 128 runs.

Postponed: CIYMS v North Down (playing tomorrow night)

North West T20 Cup: At Killyclooney, Burndennett 84-2 (10 overs). Abandoned.

At Bready, Strabane 11-1 (5 overs). Abandoned.

Ardmore v Eglinton, Drummond v Creevedonnell – No play.

RSA Irish Cup quarter final draw: Clontarf v St Johnston, Pembroke v Merrion, Coleraine v North Down, Railway Union v The Hills. Games on Sunday, June 29.

RSA National Cup draw: Carrickfergus v Co Galway, Killyclooney v Cliftonville, Woodvale v Laois, Civil Service or Limerick Raiders v Dundrum. Games on Sunday, June 29.

Tonight'S FIXTURES: Lagan Valley Steels Cup: Muckamore v Lisburn.

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