The Premiership title was Bready's in all but name on Saturday night after the Magheramason side posted a 38-run win over second-placed Coleraine to move within a single point of their first ever top-flight league championship.

Had the margin of success been just 2 runs more, Davy Scanlon's side would have needed to wait no longer. Brigade's 4-wicket win at Ardmore however, coupled with Coleraine's 4th bonus point now means that with two games left, Bready are 50 points clear of the chasers with a maximum of 50 available to the other pair.

The leaders then headed to Beechgrove yesterday (Sunday) for a match where, weather permitting, anything other than a maximum win for the home side would see the long-awaited success finally confirmed.

The champions-elect recovered from an ordnary start on Saturday that saw Marc McCloskey dismissed by Graham Hume off the very first ball of the match and then Andrew Austin dropped behind the wicket having scored just 3.

The keeper/batsman made the most of his reprieve- going on to share partnerships of 49 with David Rankin (20) and 65 with Irosh Samarasooriya before the latter pair were dismissed having both made half-centuries.

Austin hit 7 fours in his 55 and the Sri Lankan 3 fours and 2 sixes in his 52 as Bready wrestled control of the first innings- assisted by some really ordinary fielding from the visitors.

The Bannsiders stuck at it however with Hume (2-40) and Stephen Hutchinson (2-45) the best of it with the ball before yet more middle order runs from Scanlon put the hosts firmly in front.

The Bready captain is on a real run of form with the bat at present and needed just 28 deliveries here to make a telling contribution of 53 (6 fours, 2 sixes) as the leaders posted 258-9.

Coleraine's reply started very well despite the loss of Marcus Poskitt for 15. Scott Campbell and Tim Chopra (36) kept the board ticking over before Campbell and Rishi Chopra (25) got it to 139-2.

The Bannsiders were on top at that point but the introduction of Andy Lucas (3-27) and Samarasooriya (3-31) turned it back the home side's way.

Graham Hume's unbeaten 52 (6 fours) gave the visitors hope right to the finish, but wickets tumbled all too quickly at the other end as the reply closed on 220-9.

Brigade's late rally continued as they edged past Ardmore to keep the pot boiling for at least one more day.

The Beechgrove outfit travelled light to the 'Green but were indebted to their bowlers as the home side slumped from 66-1 to 80-7 in the middle overs.

Early runs from Decker Curry (35) and Azeem Ghumman (28) seemed to have set the bottom side towards a decent target before before Iftikhar Hussain (3-20), Kyle Magee (3-22) and Jonny Robinson (3-46) saw Brigade fight back tenaciously.

Gary Neely was having none of that however and the Ardmore skipper added 37 for the 7th wicket with Stephen Dunn (21) and then another 50 with Conor Brolly (11) for the 9th to allow the hosts to close on 177.

Neely's final tally was an unbeaten 61 (5 fours, 3 sixes)- a top effort in the circumstances- although it wasn't to be enough in the end.

Brigade were struggling at a stage to be fair- a couple of wickets for Stevie Dunn (2-35) bringing the bowling side back into it after a decent start by David Barr (27) and Iftikhar Hussain (27). At 102-5 it could have gone either way before a match-winning 72-run partnership between Kyle Magee (43*) and skipper Andy Britton (34) earned Brigade the win that moved them into 3rd- just behind Coleraine now on net run rate.

Strabane's remote title chances were finally extinguished by Eglinton despite the home side missing several players for the game.

Needing points badly themselves it was overseas man Mike Erlank who put his stamp on the contest with an innings that has been coming for a while. It was great timing from the South African too, with his side in free-fall towards the bottom end of the table; Erlank's chanceless 101 including 9 fours and 2 sixes.

He shared a 123-run stand with Graham Lamrock who made 46, and another of 82 with Jamie Millar (44) as the home side posted an impressive 265-5 in their 50 overs.

Strabane started poorly in reply as early wickets for Lee Ritchie and Richard Keys (3-55) reduced them to 55-4. A fifth wicket stand between Peter Gillespie and Ryan Gallagher worth 121 then had the Red Caps firmly in the driving seat before Erlank intervened again; removing Gallagher for 54.

Gillespie proved a tougher nut to crack but was finally dismissed for a superb 119 (14 fours, 2 sixes) and with him went Strabane's chance. From 245-6 and needing 21 to win, the Tyrone outfit were all out for 257- Ritchie (4-54) returning to seal a priceless 8-run verdict.

In the division's final match a Jason Milligan century helped Fox Lodge make 241 all out as they hosted outgoing champions Donemana.

Milligan shared an 82-run partnership with his captain, Brian Allen (36) and another of 47 with Lee Finlay (25) that helped the Ballymagorry men recover from 27-3 early on.

In all, the Foxies batsman hit 13 fours and 2 sixes in his unbeaten 118 as Gary McClintock; Jordan McGonigle, Mal Cooray and Kyle Dougherty all claimed two wickets apiece for the visitors.

Cooray fared best with the bat in Donemana's chase- the Sri Lankan making 65 and sharing in a 110-run stand with skipper Ricky-Lee Dougherty who added 50.

William McClintock (36) and Levi Dougherty (20*) hung about to edge the Holm side over the line with just 3 wickets to spare as the Foxies lost their 5th league match on the bounce.

Next up for them is a crucial game at Ardmore which will more than likely decide which one of them will be relegated this season.

Finally, for the second week in a row there was a double-century in the Championship -Ewald Roberts making an unbeaten 234 as Bonds Glen hammered Newbuildings.

Roberts was following Andre Henry's double for Killyclooney last week- the West Indian only managing 145 this time as his side beat Burndennett.