DEFENDING champions CIYMS and Waringstown extended their lead in the Robinson Services Premier League as nearest challengers Instonians lost in Saturday’s action.
It was always expected to be a two-horse race for the title and an eight points advantage even before the halfway mark in the season looks significant.
In perfect batting conditions, basement club Armagh scored 235-8 at The Lawn with Jamie Rogers scoring 76 but Waringstown eased home with 10 overs and six wickets to spare, with undefeated half-centuries from Lee Nelson (54) and captain Greg Thompson (51).
CIYMS found it just as comfortable in chasing Carrickfergus’ 222 at Belmont with Chris Dougherty (94) and Nigel Jones (86 not out) sharing a stand of 144 in their seven wickets win with 21 left.
Carrickfergus professional Pat Botha returned from his broken thumb to top score with 68 but team-Ryan Eagleson left the ground with a hand injury after been hit by a full toss from Allen Coulter. He retired hurt but returned to face the last three balls of the innings and also bowled six overs, so he is hoping the damage is not too serious.
Muckamore joined the four-team pack on 12 points with a six wickets victory over Civil Service North at Stormont.
Debutant Adam McDaid, who joined this week after a fall-out with Eglinton, made an instant impression, scoring 61 at No 3 and either side of him Aditja Adey (67) and Fahad Iqbal (50 not out) enjoyed themselves against a CSN attack missing Graham McCarter and with a sick Andre Malan. Chris McMorran (65) and Morgan Topping (56) had put on 95 for the fifth wicket in CSN’s 217.
Big hitters of the day were North Down’s Daniel Graham (126 not out) and Ruhan Pretorius (124) in an opening partnership of 231, and with Alistair Shields, who finally got to the middle in the 40th over then scoring 75 from 38 balls (11 fours and two sixes) the Comber side amassed 352-2 to ensure an enjoyable birthday for captain Martin Moreland. He also took a wicket as Instonians were bowled out for 197.