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Waringstown are out to seize control of title battle

By Richard Bullick

Rematches will be the theme tomorrow in the Ulster Bank Premier League when four teams meet again on the back of high-profile Cup clashes recently.

On those occasions there were high stakes involved but these two rearranged league games are also very significant fixtures in their own right.

Joint table-toppers Instonians and Waringstown haven't had long to wait to renew rivalries following last Saturday's Irish Cup semi-final at The Lawn.

Waringstown won that tie with something to spare thanks to a superb unbroken stand of 149 by the in-form Greg Thompson and skipper Lee Nelson but Instonians have home advantage this time.

It is also a quick chance for revenge but neither team will need much motivation other than knowing whoever wins will go clear at the top and be in pole position to take the title.

That is assuming the sides don't slip up in testing away matches today when Waringstown go to Carrickfergus and Instonians make the short trip to Lisburn.

Carrickfergus lie third, eight points behind the top two with an extra game played so they are realistically out of title contention but also safe from relegation worries.

By contrast, Instonians' hosts Lisburn could do with picking up another victory at this stage to guard against being dragged into the end of season scramble.

Tomorrow's other match features the recent Challenge Cup final pairing and Civil Service North will be hoping to repeat that triumph over CIYMS to complete a weekend double.

They should get the first part of the job done today against apparently doomed Derriaghy before facing a CI side which has hit form at the right time.

Until recently CIYMS were languishing at the bottom but did have games in hand and have picked up four straight victories in a nine-day period ahead of today's visit from North Down.

The Comber club ended a losing streak by crushing Derriaghy last Saturday but can't become complacent about staying up.

Meanwhile, former Irish international Nigel Jones has brought the curtain down on his playing involvement at representative level by announcing his retirement from Northern Knights duty at the age of 34.

CIYMS's New Zealand-born all-rounder - the Cricket Ireland Regional Development Officer - called time on his international career in 2013.

Ulster Bank Premier League: Carrickfergus v Waringstown, CSNI v Derriaghy, CIYMS v North Down, Lisburn v Instonians. Tomorrow: CIYMS v CSNI, Instonians v Waringstown.

Section One: Armagh v Academy, Ballymena v Lurgan, Downpatrick v Bangor, Muckamore v Donaghcloney, Saintfield v Woodvale. Tomorrow: Downpatrick v Muckamore, Woodvale v Armagh.

Section Two: BISC v Laurelvale, Cooke Collegians v Cliftonville, Dundrum v Cregagh, Holywood v Templepatrick. Tomorrow: Cooke Collegians v Cregagh, Templepatrick v Cliftonville.

Section Three: Donaghadee v Ards, Dunmurry v Monaghan, Larne v Dungannon, Newforge v Victoria. Tomorrow: Ards v Dungannon.

Belfast Telegraph


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