Massive weekend ahead in battle for top spot

Waringstown will hope to put their cup defeat at Bready behind them and bounce back in the league.
Waringstown will hope to put their cup defeat at Bready behind them and bounce back in the league.

Waringstown face two pivotal Premier League matches this weekend as the title race reaches a crucial stage.

On Saturday title rivals Civil Service North visit The Lawn with Lisburn following the day after.

Lee Nelson’s men will be hoping to set aside the setback of losing Sunday’s Ulster Cup final to North West strugglers Bready at Strabane.

The damage was inflicted with the ball as Waringstown never got going in reply to Bready’s 185.

A much-vaunted batting line-up couldn’t cope with the pace and hostility of Ireland bowler Craig Young.

Waringstown’s success this season has been founded on a strong top order but they were blown away here to lose their second cup final in little more than a fortnight and their second Ulster Cup final loss in two years. The NCU team reached 19 without loss comfortably enough but soon their innings was in complete tatters.

The openers James McCollum and James Hall went in quick succession, McCollum bowled by Young for 15 and Hall falling victim to Bready captain David Scanlon.

Adam Dennison found Young far too hot to handle and at 31 for three there was no way back.

Nelson, the captain, indicated that he did not get an edge to Ernest Kemm’s delivery that he was given out caught behind for but it was a moot point as Waringstown couldn’t cope with the South African’s prodigious spin. With Ryan Barr chipping in with three for 23 it was soon a scarcely believable 52 for eight before a late rally took Waringstown to 91 all out. Fittingly Young, three for 24, wrapped up a 91-run win on Duckworth Lewis.

Earlier in the day Bready recovered from losing three wickets for five runs as they went from 63 for one to 68 for four. But David Barr top scored with 41 and Brian Crumley contributed a vital 30. There were also handy contributions down the order from Mark Olphert and the skipper Scanlon as Bready posted an above par 185 for nine in their 40 overs.

They were favourites at that stage but even they couldn’t have imagined skittling Waringstown’s powerful batting line-up with such ease.