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Scanlon keeping a cool head as Bready eye maiden league title

 

By Ian Callender

Bready captain David Scanlon has been around too long to take anything for granted, so while the Magheramason side can win their first league title tomorrow, he and his team are preparing for all eventualities.

The simplest way for Bready to win the league is to pick up maximum points at home to Coleraine tomorrow and hope Strabane drop at least two points in their game at Eglinton. In that scenario, the title is decided tomorrow.

The complications arise if Brigade pick up maximum points at basement club Ardmore and Bready fail to beat Coleraine by either 100 runs or nine wickets. That will keep the Beechgrove side in contention for the title - and if Bready fail to finish the job tomorrow, they go to Brigade on Sunday for what could be an epic confrontation.

Bready have lost only three league games season - at least one fewer than everyone else - and two of those were by two wickets and 11 runs. Their only really bad day at the office was when they went down by 133 runs - to Coleraine!

But more than revenge will be in the air tomorrow with the title up for grabs, and Scanlon knows what they have to do.

"Coleraine are a decent young team, with possibly a couple of players missing, but if we play to our potential then we can certainly get a win," said the skipper. "We have probably one of the best squads in the league and with everybody being available and free from injury for most of the season, we have finally shown our potential."

Scanlon singles out professional Irosh Samarasooriya, in his second season, as a key player plus the wickets and runs of Ireland international Craig Young, and the captain has a special mention for Gregory McFall, who plays tomorrow after missing last week's victory over Strabane.

"For a 17-year-old, Gregory has done really well and only Craig and the pro would have taken more wickets this season. Andy Lucas is also closing up after his four wickets last week, so it's all come together this season and it would be great to finish the job."

It was only three years ago that Bready had to win a relegation play-off against Fox Lodge just to stay in the Premiership but after a sixth and fifth-place finish in the last two years they have soared to the top and aim to be there at the finish. Bready will be hoping that Strabane have one eye on Sunday's Irish Cup semi-final against Waringstown when they play Eglinton tomorrow but the home side are without captain Stuart Thompson and the Red Caps, despite last week's setback, are still in title contention.

There is certain to be a different name on the Premiership trophy for the first time since 2015 after Donemana's hopes of making it three in a row ended with defeat at Coleraine last week. They will have a say in the relegation battle, as they travel to Fox Lodge tomorrow and host Ardmore on the final day.

Ardmore, though, will almost certainly have to beat Fox Lodge in the likely automatic relegation showdown next week. Seven points separate the bottom two with Eglinton just seven points clear in sixth place.

FIXTURES: Tomorrow (12pm): Long's SuperValu Premiership: Ardmore v Brigade, Bready v Coleraine, Fox Lodge v Donemana, Eglinton v Strabane. Sunday: Brigade v Bready

Championship: Bonds Glen v Newbuildings, Burndennett v Killyclooney, Drummond v St Johnston

Sunday: National Cup (12.30): Ballyspallen v Rush.

Belfast Telegraph

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