‘CLOONEY RUN RIOT AS PROMOTION RACE CRANKS UP

The race for promotion to the Premier Division looks to have come down to three teams after Ballyspallen’s crushing win over fourth-placed Burndennett on Saturday set up an intriguing final few weeks.

Overseas player Darnell McCallum was the man-of-the-moment for the Roe Valley side as he thumped 15 fours and 7 sixes on his way to an unbeaten 128 as ‘Spallen chased down the visitors’ 180 all out with ease.

A half century from Ross McCay as well as Mark Pollock’s 46 and 31 from Mark Roulston was the backbone of ‘Dennett’s innings while Mark Averill (4-39) and a couple of wickets each for Craig Averill and Gareth Burns kept things within reach for the home side.

McCallum’s knock took just 81 deliveries as the second-placed side won with plenty to spare.

That said, the Jamaican wasn’t the highest scorer of the day in the division- that honour going to
Killyclooney’s Andre Henry, McCallum’s fellow West Indian. Henry wasn’t in the mood for hanging about as third-placed ‘Clooney thrashed Drummond- hitting 20 fours and 22 sixes in a blistering 91-ball 225 as the home side racked up a record 466-9 in their 50 overs.

Skipper Chris Moore escaped the melee to finishing with the superb figures of 5-50 given what was going on around him, however Henry and Mark Gordon (70) had set the tone for the afternoon with a 255-run stand that set the tone for a massive win.

Leaders Glendermott were equally emphatic as they retained top spot, however there was much less fuss required by the Rectory side. Five wickets for Gordon Cooke, three for Dale Culbert and a couple for Alan Johnson saw the home side shot out for just 67- only Trent McKeegan with 28 offering much in the way of resistance here.

Gordon Montgomery’s unbeaten 30 saw the visitors easily home despite McKeegan picking up the sole consolation wicket of Bob Robinson.

The Rectory side have just two league games to go now and one win would leave them on the brink of a return to the top flight.

The final match of Saturday’s four saw St Johnston win at Bonds Glen- a result that leaves the Bee Gees adrift at the foot of the table, albeit safe because of the fact that there will be no relegation this time.

Dawie Barnard’s unbeaten 60 along with runs from Michael Rankin (48), David Macbeth (33) and Stewart Lapsley (24 not out) saw the Saints through to a solid total of 236-8 with David Robinson and Lee Britton claiming three wickets apiece for the home side.

The Bee Gees’ batting has been something of an Achilles heel this year however and they couldn’t quite get close enough in reply despite 40 from Ewald Roberts and 32 from Leslie Curry. Three wickets apiece for David Macbeth and Josh Cole and a couple for Rammohan Goud were enough to ensure the win for the Donegal side as they moved away from the foot of the table.

There is no game for the leaders this weekend, having played Ballyspallen earlier in the season so there’s a chance for Killyclooney to really heap the pressure on the pair above them next Saturday when they travel to Burndennett.

It looks like being a fascinating finale to what has been a very competitive campaign so far.