There was some much-needed good news for the North West in the National Cup on Sunday with two of the region’s three remaining participants winning through to the third round after impressive displays.
Truth to tell it could easily have been three as Sion Mills came within a whisker of beating Laois despite the fact that the Tyrone side were dismissed for just 57.
Armand Smit (4-11) and Usama Raees (3-15) proved too troublesome for the Sion batsmen; however the southerners were left reeling on 20-6 in reply after Lee Finlay and Mark McNulty shared five wickets.
Unfortunately for Sion, Smit (24*) proved a tougher nut to crack and the Lois all-rounder was able to do enough to drag his side over the winning line.
Elsewhere things were much brighter starting at Foyle College where Peat Salmon and Graeme Robb led Newbuildings to a 44-run win over Terenure.
Salmon made 63 and Ross Hunter 37 as Dale Culbert’s team posted 188 all out - Muhammad Arshad (5-18) and Daniel van Zyl (3-44) fighting back for the visitors.
The Dublin side’s reply was dominated by Subramanya Ramnathpur who made a brilliant 87; however Robb (5-37) and skipper Culbert (2-10) worked over the other end to ensure that Newbuildings progressed.
Ballyspallen are in the hat too - 78 from Graham Kennedy and 56 from sibling Stephen playing a big part in their 239 for 9 against Civil Service Leinster.
Saeed Akbar (3-20) and Mubasher Siddique (3-45) ensured the damage wasn’t any greater.
Siddique was to the fore in the reply as well- his 44 and 34 from Keith Webster the best of their 146; Creighton Wilson sealing ’Spallen’s progress with 5-25.
Meanwhile Simi Singh turned in a superb all-round performance as Leinster Lightning beat NW Warriors by 141 runs on a record-breaking day in the Hanley Energy Inter-Provincial Cup at Strabane, on Monday.
Lightning racked up the highest total in the 50 overs format - 332 for 7, with Singh’s 136 the record individual score.
Singh shared a third wicket partnership of 202 with Lightning skipper John Anderson - another competition record.
The only disappointment for Lightning was the dismissal of Anderson for 77 (97 balls, 10 fours). Andrew Poynter bludgeoned his way to 53 from just 39 balls (5 fours, 2 sixes).
Singh followed up his batting masterclass by claiming 4 for 16 as Warriors were dismissed for just 191 - never threatening the total at any stage of the daunting run chase.
Only Fox Lodge professional Marco Marais showed any serious resistance - top scoring with 66 from 77 deliveries (8 fours, 1 six).