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Porterfield returns to form but rain has final say


William Porterfield. Photo: INPHO/Bryan Keane

William Porterfield. Photo: INPHO/Bryan Keane

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

William Porterfield. Photo: INPHO/Bryan Keane

The first game of Ireland’s three-match Super League series against South Africa in Netherlands was abandoned as a no-result with only 40 overs possible after Ireland had been put into bat.

But it was an encouraging return to home action – for the first time in two years – with Ireland reaching 195 for four and William Porterfield justifying his recall with 63.

The former Ireland captain shared a second wicket stand of 87 with his successor, Andrew Balbirnie who made 65 after the early loss of Paul Stirling for 13.

Mark Adair, who replaced Barry McCarthy, was promoted to No 5 when the innings was reduced to 43 overs and was 16 not out, including two sixes, while Harry Tector also cleared the boundary once in his 25.

The second game is back at Malahide tomorrow.

Meanwhile, it’s all still to play for in the battle to get top four in the Long’s SuperValu 40-Over League over the next two weeks.

Only the top four in the two groups will go through to the Premiership play-off games with the Championship the prize for the winners of the other seven-team play-off games when the leagues split next month.

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Bready and Ardmore look safe at the top of Group A after winning their fifth and fourth games respectively but Brigade and Fox Lodge must win one of their final two games to keep alive their Premiership ambitions this season.

Brigade’s second defeat of the campaign was the biggest surprise on Saturday, bowled out for 73 by Ardmore but they will still be confident of progressing with victory at Glendermott next Sunday.

With games at Ardmore and at home to Brigade to complete the first stage, Fox Lodge, despite beating Glendermott on Saturday, are the team looking over their shoulder.

St Johnston are best placed to overtake them but they must travel to Bready next weekend and could rely on picking up some points there and then winning at Strabane in round seven.

Donemana surrendered the leadership of Group B, after losing to Ballyspallen, the day after they lost in the semi-final of the Faughan Valley Cup to Eglinton who also took their place at the top of the league standings.

Both teams are already assured of a Premiership play-off place and should be joined by Newbuildings after their maximum points win over Burndennett.

One big win for fourth place Coleraine, against Newbuildings next weekend or Burndennett should be enough to confirm their top half position with the winners of next week’s Ballyspallen or Burndennett keeping them in with a chance.

Eglinton will meet Brigade in the Faughan Valley Cup final, after beating Donemana by 23 runs, while Strabane will face Fox Lodge in the Eric Cooke decider, Red Caps captain Aaron Gillespie playing the innings of the night in the semi-finals, scoring exactly 100, after hitting the last two balls of the innings for four and six.

The other T20 final, for the Sperrin Springs Cup, will be between St Johnston and Killyclooney.

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