Donemana crowned champions
Donemana are the Long's SuperValu Premier Division champions for the second successive season after Ricky-Lee Dougherty's men posted a final-day win at a sodden Ballymagorry to clinch back-to-back league and cup doubles for the second time in the club's history.
The Holm side proved themselves by far the best throughout the season- losing just once in domestic competition all summer- however they needed a last-gasp 10-over bash win over Fox Lodge before they were finally able to get their hands back on the trophy once again.
In truth it turned out to be a fairly anti-climatic afternoon as heavy overnight rain meant that all three title combatants were forced to sit around most of the day in the hope of getting some cricket played. Donemana's plight became all the more edgy after a cloud-burst over the Tyrone venue in early afternoon seemed to end any chance of play, but thanks to some determined work from the Foxies' groundsmen, assisted at times by volunteers from the visiting ranks, they finally paved a way through conditions.
Had this been the first day of the season there would have been little or no play at either venue but spectators at least got the chance to see the title race decided on the field and Donemana wasted little time in availing of their opportunity.
Their final game reduced to the minimum 10 overs, Dougherty's men won a crucial toss and opted to bowl first in the soggy conditions. With no Jason Milligan available and Cebo Tshiki already back in South Africa the home team's hopes were pinned on skipper Brian Allen; however the scene was set after he pulled the second ball of the innings straight to Andrew Riddles on the boundary and you sensed immediately that Fox Lodge were in trouble.
Andrew McGinnis (14) and Allan Patterson (12) rallied briefly however a combination of those tricky conditions and a quality Donemana attack kept the batsmen tied down. Three run-outs in the scramble to get to some sort of competitive target on the board certainly didn't help the cause and a final total of 46-7 always meant the reigning champions were in charge.
And so it proved as the visitors safely negotiated the chase- Dwayne McGerrigle relieving the pressure with a 21-ball unbeaten 34 after the Fox Lodge bowlers gave a good account of themselves early on. McGerrigle hit 3 sixes and a four in his knock- the last of those maximums the blow that saw the league trophy headed back from whence it came.
The battle of the second and third placed teams went the way of Brigade after an unbroken 98-run stand between Johnny Thompson and Niall McDonnell had helped the home side turn the game around after Coleraine looked to have assumed control.
Half centuries from the prolific Scott Campbell whose 35-ball 62 included 6 fours and 4 sixes, and Rishi Chopra (51 in 25 balls- 6 fours, 3 sixes) looked to have given the Sandel Lodge side the advantage before Coleraine contrived to lose their last 6 wickets for 20 runs to be all out for 150 with 4 balls of their 20 overs unused. David Barr (5-19) did the bulk of the damage as Brigade fought back to give themselves a chance of keeping the pressure on the league leaders.
The visitors looked to be in front again early in Brigade's reply before Thompson (64*- 4 fours, 6 sixes) and McDonnell (32*) combined to good effect to have the hosts well in front on DLS when bad light brought an abrupt end to what had been an entertaining contest. Brigade were by then 30 in front, however with events in Ballymagorry going Donemana's way it was to count for little in the end.
At the bottom of the table it's still all to play for between Fox Lodge and Ardmore; those two sides scheduled to play each other on Sunday to see which of them takes on Ballyspallen at Beechgrove in next week's play off.
The Bleachgreen team were denied the chance to secure safety when their match at Drummond fell foul of Friday night's heavy rain while Foxies' defeat at home to Donemana changed little in terms of their overall safety.
There was no play in either of the scheduled Championship games although the title trophy was handed over to Strabane at the Park following the abandonment of their final game of the season against Burndennett.
The loss of the St Johnston v Bonds Glen game actually worked in favour of the visitors who are now safe from the dreaded play-off against Sion Mills.
The Saints have one more league match left to play, that at home to now bottom placed Glendermott. The match was scheduled to be finished today (SUN) but given the condition of the Boathole it looked highly unlikely to have happened.
That said, as a "first attempt' the teams will have next Saturday to play if required with the losing side's play-off against Sion pushed back to Sunday at Ardmore.