With nearest rivals Templepatrick winning on Saturday, Donaghcloney’s were relegated from Section 1 after losing to Muckamore.
Batting first, opening batsmen Bruce Topping and Keith Martin were both adjudged lbw with only two runs on the board. Steve Hanna and Mansing Nigade made a valiant attempt to revive the innings and added 61 runs in 67 minutes before Nigade was caught for 33. Hanna followed soon after for 28, leaving the score on 76 for 4 wickets. The middle order collapsed and ‘Cloney were soon 94 for 8. Louis McNamara (11 not out) and Mark Campbell (19) struck some good blows, the innings closing on 134.
Muckamore lost an early wicket to the left arm spin of Steve Hanna. Had three catches been taken, the visitors might have been in trouble and with Hanna and Nigade each claiming a further wicket, the score was 57 for 3 after 19 overs. What hopes Donaghcloney had were quickly dispelled by the professional Kamtekar (41 not out) and South African Brian Baguley (51 not out), who saw their side home by 7 wickets.
This victory means that Muckamore have won the title and will play in the Premiership next year. NCU President Billy Boyd presented their long serving captain Neil Gill with the huge trophy. This defeat means that Donaghcloney have been relegated and will play in Section 2 next season. This should give younger players the opportunity to break through. Young men such as Matthew and Robert Lyttle, Shane Warren, Louis McNamara and Mark Campbell should now work hard at their games during the winter months and try to achieve promotion at the first attempt.