BREADY are Premiership champions for the first time in their history.
They lost their fourth match of the season at Beechgrove yesterday to Brigade but once they had reached 134, to bring the margin of defeat down to less than 40 runs, they were confirmed champions.
In the end, they fell just seven runs short of their revised target of 173 in 25 overs and, fittingly, it was captain David Scanlon who hit a six to reach their title-winning target.
Although he was dismissed next ball, it was job done and Craig Young, the other lower-order batting success this season, continued the charge for victory before he was bowled immediately after reaching his 50.
Bready were actually within two runs of winning the title in front of their own support on Saturday, when needing to restrict Coleraine to 218, the Bannsiders finished on 220-9.
But 24 hours later, the celebrations could begin.
It was Brigade’s failure to pick up maximum points on Saturday that left Bready needing only one point yesterday.
Chasing Ardmore’s 177, they lost their second wicket with the total on 56 and a sixth, skipper Andy Britton (34) when six runs from victory.
It was Kyle Magee, 43 not out, to add to his 3-22, who saw them to a 22 points victory at the end of the 42nd over. Ardmore captain Gary Neely’s was his side’s top scorer with 61 not out.
Strabane were the other side in title contention on Saturday morning but they lost by eight runs in an exciting finish at Eglinton.
Mike Erlank was run out for 101 in the home side’s 265-5 but despite losing four wickets for 55 in reply, Strabane took the game to the last over thanks to Peter Gillespie’s 119, and a fifth wicket stand of 121 with Ryan Gallagher (54).
But Gillespie was eighth out in the 48th over with still 18 needed for victory and two wickets for just two runs in the last over bowled by Lee Ritchie left the Red Caps comfortable short and their title race was run.
At least, in their first season back, they have never been in danger of an immediate return to Section One. A Fox Lodge victory at Ardmore next Saturday will relegate the Bleachgreen side after the Foxes matched the basement side’s three points in a three wickets defeat by Donemana.