NW CRICKET: Fox Lodge secure place back in Premier League

Fox Lodge skipper Brian Allen celebrates winning both the Samuel Jeffrey Shield and the Championship title.

Fox Lodge skipper Brian Allen celebrates winning both the Samuel Jeffrey Shield and the Championship title.

Fox Lodge are back at the top table of North West cricket after Brian Allen’s team clinched the Championship title and automatic promotion with a five wicket win, at Ballyspallen, on Sunday.

Fittingly it was Allen himself who delivered the goods as the league leaders chased down ’Spallen’s 209 all out; the North West Development Officer hitting 15 fours and 2 sixes on his way to a superb unbeaten 117.

Earlier in the day the bang-in-form Graham Kennedy was at his best for the home side as he smashed 13 fours and 8 sixes on his way to making a brilliant 138 out of their competitive total.

The Heywood brothers, Gareth and Aaron picked up three wickets each while Luke Hayes and Jason Milligan shared the other four.

With overseas man Marco Marais already back home in South Africa it didn’t look an easy ask, especially after losing Milligan and Dean McCarter early, however Allen and his batting partner Allan Patterson (33) were up to the task as the visitors celebrated promotion.

The Foxies’ game on Saturday at home to Killyclooney was a victim of Thursday night’s thunderstorms, although thankfully the rest of the scheduled programme went ahead as planned.

Their inactivity left one last chance for Glendermott to put on the squeeze at the top of the table however once again it was a Kennedy-inspired Ballyspallen put a real dent in the Rectory side’s aspirations for this year.

The 17-year old celebrated his call-up to the North West Warriors side in Dublin last week with a man-of-the-match performance at Bonds Street, starting with his 65 in their total of 186 all out.

David Craig added 20 although a half century of “extras” was a real blow for Alan Johnson’s team in the final reckoning.

Azeem Ghumman fared best with the ball as he picked up an impressive 4-18 while Curtis Ross chipped in with 2-13.

Glendermott’s order struggled badly in the face of some accurate bowling although Charlie Elder (33) and Trevor McDermott (32) were by some way the pick of the batting.

In the end all they could muster was 120 out as Kennedy and Stephen McCloskey claimed four wickets each, as ’Spallen picked up two valuable points.

Newbuildings took their chance to move up the table as they went to the Boathole and inflicted a heavy defeat on the Saints. It was another familiar face at the centre of this one- Peat Salmon thumping 12 sixes and 3 fours in one of his now trademark innings’.

Dean Mehaffey added 31 as the Foyle College side posted 232 all out with Ian Macbeth and David Anthony picking up two wickets each for the Donegal team.

St Johnston’s reply never got out of first gear in truth- Michael Rankin’s 14 the best of their 73 all out. Mehaffey, Jason Brown and Dale Culbert were all on the money for Newbuildings in what was a very easy win for them.

At the other end of the table Bonds Glen remain in trouble after a home defeat at the hands of Burndennett.

The visitors batted first in this one- Mark Pollock hitting 10 fours in his attacking 48 while Eddie McGettigan (35) and Aaron McNamee (21) were next in as the visitors made 185.

David Robinson and Mervyn Magee picked up three wickets apiece for the Bee Gees with Kyle Moore adding a brace, but they were to be found wanting in the reply.

Gary Hamilton fared best with an unbeaten 30, however only Richard Rodgers (29) and Graham Boyd (24) troubled the scorers much after that.

John McCormick helped himself to 4 wickets and Brian Devine 3 as Burndennett moved to the safety of 10 points in the table with a 49-run win.