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Villagers set to go to town in bid to wrap up title race

 

By Ian Callender

Waringstown will be taking nothing for granted when they face Lisburn tomorrow in the Gardiner Bros Premier League but if they complete their expected victory against the basement side, the players will rush off to hear the result from Comber.

If North Down, this season's long-time leaders, defeat CIYMS then a second Waringstown win at the weekend, against CI, will confirm the Villagers as champions for the second time in three years.

James McCollum returns from holiday to take his place in a familiar Waringstown line-up although, remarkably, the top order batsman has yet to score a half century in the league this season, despite five scores from 37 to 46, so with games running out he will be keen to put that right.

McCollum is still in the top 20 runs scorers this season thanks to a century and a 50 in Waringstown's successful Irish Cup campaign - they meet The Hills in the final next Saturday - but Adam Dennison is the only batsman in the top 15, although that is down to his prolific start; he hasn't posted a half century since the start of July.

There are still more than enough in-form players to account for Lisburn, however, and if Ally Shields and Ruhan Pretorius maintain their superb form this season - the North Down batsmen are the first and third top runs scorers - and get more help from their team-mates than they did last Sunday, then a revenge win against CIYMS could complete a perfect day for Waringstown.

Lisburn, though, despite having to face Instonians and Waringstown again in their last two games, must continue to fight if they want to preserve their top flight status although if Instonians win at Muckamore and Civil Service North defeat Carrickfergus - both perfectly possible - then a Waringstown win would relegate the Wallace Park side.

Drummond's relegation from the Long's SuperValu Premiership will also be confirmed tomorrow if they lose at Coleraine, but after Tuesday's thunderstorms, the four host clubs will just be hoping for no more rain in the next 24 hours!

If Coleraine crash to a shock defeat and Brigade lose at Eglinton, then Donemana can win the league by beating Bready - but even the defending champions are not expecting that to happen.

Weekend Fixtures (12.00): Tomorrow: Gardiner Bros Premier League: Civil Service North v Carrickfergus, Muckamore v Instonians (11.00), North Down v CIYMS (11.00), Waringstown v Lisburn. Sunday: Instonians v Carrick (20 overs, 11.00), Waringstown v CIYMS

Section One: Academy v Downpatrick, Bangor v Cliftonville, Derriaghy v Donaghcloney Mill, Holywood v Armagh, Lurgan v Woodvale. Sunday: Derriaghy v Holywood

Section Two: Ballymena v Larne, Cooke Collegians v Dundrum, Laurelvale v Donaghadee, Saintfield v BISC, Templepatrick v Cregagh

Section Three: Ards v Monaghan, Drumaness v Dungannon, Victoria v Monaghan

Long's SuperValu Premiership: Bready v Donemana, Coleraine v Drummond, Eglinton v Brigade, Fox Lodge v Ardmore. Sunday: Brigade v Bready.

Championship: Burndennett v Newbuildings, Glendermott v Ballyspallen, St Johnston v Bonds Glen. Sunday: Newbuildings v St Johnston.

Sunday: Ulster Plate Final: CIYMS II v Brigade II (Belmont, 12.30)

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