Belfast Telegraph

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Villagers look strong at top

By Ian Callender

Waringstown have put down another marker as the team the rest have to finish above if they are to lift the Ulster Bank Premier League title.

The Villagers moved clear at the top of the table - albeit having played more games than both defending champions Instonians and CIYMS.

But even with just six games played, they have the points on the board.

Just as importantly, they have probably reduced the title race to three with North Down finishing a well-beaten team at The Lawn.

Waringstown also proved they can cope without Gary Kidd - out with a fractured finger - and for one more weekend Adam Dennison and James Mitchell, on duty with the Ireland Under-19s.

In Phil Eaglestone and Ruhan Pretorius, however, they have a deadly new ball pairing - on Saturday they dismissed North Down's top three inside 12 overs - and after that skipper Lee Nelson, pressed into a longer spell due to Kidd's absence, still has the vast experience of Kyle McCallan and Greg Thompson.

They were also boosted by the return of James Hall after injury, although his 21 was only fourth top scorer behind the captain's quickfire 57, James McCollum's 43 and Davy Dawson's 24 not out as Waringstown completed a seven-wicket victory with more than four overs to spare.

Alistair Shields (68) and Peter Eakin (51) held up Waringstown for 24 overs but a total of 206 was never enough, especially when rain arrived halfway through the home reply.

On their return, they needed only 52 from 11 overs and 31 balls later it was all over.

There were three Premiership games in the North West but only one was completed with Eglinton easing clear of the bottom with a seven-wicket DLS win over St Johnston.

Brigade were grateful for the weather abandoning their game at Coleraine having slumped to 94 for nine, while in the Championship Drummond were the only winners, but their seventh straight success moved them level with Fox Lodge at the top of the table.

Belfast Telegraph


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