This season’s promotion race have put clear blue water between themselves and the rest after Saturday’s round of matches with Fox Lodge, Glendermott and Drummond all finishing the weekend with their unbeaten league records intact.
Something has to give tonight however with the latter two sides meeting at Drummond on the final evening of their re-arranged match - the winners’ reward will be going joint-top with the Ballymagorry side.
Saturday’s match between Creevedonnell and Killyclooney was postponed early as the Curryfree Road venue was hit hard by the incessant rain of the previous week.
That left us down to just three and despite an early scare for Glendermott at the Rectory, everything went to form.
Newbuildings were the visitors to Bonds Street and some indifferent top order batting from the home team gave Chris Cooper’s men a sniff of an upset as they reduced their hosts to 65 for 5. New skipper Alan Johnson has started the campaign really well for Glendermott however and he set about rebuilding the innings.
Slowly but surely Johnson got the board ticking before really upping the ante in the latter half of his knock.
He was given some company late on by Jack Glenn who made 30, but the first innings total of 255 all out was pretty much all Johnson’s work, that apart.
In all, he hit 10 fours and 6 sixes in his 116, while Dale Culbert with 4-54 was the pick of the visitors’ bowling.
Newbuildings stumbled early in their reply and despite being without the injured Stuart Cochrane; Glendermott kept picking up timely wickets. Marty Mehaffey made a valuable 51 (4 fours, 4 sixes) in the middle order, but despite 23 from Ross Hunter and 21 from Peter Allen they just couldn’t get close. As it was, three wickets apiece for Jack Glenn and man-of-the-match Johnson, as well as two from Eden Links saw Newbuildings fall 85 short.
Drummond’s batting has been very much to the fore since the season started and they were at it again at Burndennett at the weekend, making 254 for 9 in their 50 overs.
The runs were shared around too, as is usually the case - Adam McDaid top scoring with 67 (10 fours) in this one.
The former Brigade man found willing partners in Steve Moore (45) and Richard McDaid (29) while Aidan Boyle picked up 4 wickets for the home side.
Burndennett rarely threatened to chase those down if truth be told although Stephen McCay (31) and a boundary-laden 28 (5 fours and a six) for Mark Pollock at least offered some respite. The wickets were also shared around with Simon Dunn helping himself to three and skipper Moore, Johnny Martin and Neal Stewart all chipping in with two apiece.
Saturday’s final match saw the league leaders head to Bonds Glen and Brian Allen’s men were also on the mark as they posted a 7-wicket win. It was very slow going for the home side early on and they had reached just 45-5 at the halfway point of their innings.
The experienced David Cooke was still there however and he was able to at least get them to a respectable total as he hit 4 fours and 4 sixes on his way to making 60. Aaron Heywood bowled really well for his 4-17 and the youngster got good support from Gareth Heywood and Marco Marais who picked up a couple each.
The Bee Gees final total was 122 all out and it rarely looked enough. Having started the season with back-to-back centuries and then 66 for the North West Warriors, it has been a much less profitable few weeks since for overseas man, Marco Marais. The South African wasn’t going to let this opportunity go by however as he hit 7 sixes and 3 fours in his unbeaten 71 while Jamie Huey added a very good 35 as the Foxies won cosily.
There was a strange twist of fate on Sunday too as Newbuildings had been due to host Academy in the first round of the Ulster Shield. The match had been brought forward from this coming weekend because having gone through to the 2nd round of the National Cup, Newbuildings were due to travel to County Clare on Saturday.
Chris Cooper asked the organisers and their Ulster Cup opponents if they could bring that one forward by a week given their long journey south next weekend, and all parties agreed. In the meantime of course Clare pulled out of the National Cup giving Newbuildings a bye into Round 3.
Then on Sunday, Academy contacted the Newbuildings skipper and told him that owing to the poor weather forecast, the cost of travel and a heavy upcoming schedule that they wouldn’t be fulfilling the Ulster fixture, conceding that one to Newbuildings as well.
Next weekend then, instead of two inter-regional cup games, the North West side will be playing Creevedonnell in the league, having progressed in both cups without bowling a ball.