It is the final that few would have predicted but the 2015 landmark Sammy Jeffrey Shield decider will be contested by Creevedonnell and Newbuildings after both posted impressive semi-final wins on Saturday.
This is the first year that the final will be a two-innings affair after the North West Cricket Union agreed in principle during the winter that the Championship remains the only division of the local league without a dedicated two-innings showpiece.
It is fitting then that Creevedonnell, the competition’s most successful team, should be in the inaugural two-dayer and they got there in style by hammering Fox Lodge on their own patch.
A solid performance in the field gave the visitors a good start with Jordan Curry picking up three wickets and Stuart Moore, Leighton McGarrigle and Jean Symes chipping in with 2 apiece.
Marco Marais made 49 for the Foxies while Mark Mooney (28) Jamie Huey (24) and Andrew McGinnis (21) all contributed to a total of 156.
It looked light by Ballymagorry standards and when they looked across and saw Jean Symes padded up, the hosts will have feared the worst.
And they pretty much got it too as Symes and Stephen Scroggie strolled to the target at their leisure.
The South African hit 14 fours and 2 sixes in his unbeaten 76 while Scroggie smashed 8 fours and 4 sixes on his way to 74 not out. The reply took less than 18 overs to complete and afterwards Brian Dougherty was delighted that the Curryfree Road side were on their way to another final.
“Considering the start we made to the season we’re delighted to be back in another Sammy Jeffrey final,” admitted Dougherty.
“This will be our ninth in 16 years so it’s quite an achievement and with this year being a two-day final it should be extra special.”
The Creevedonnell man was one of the driving forces behind the change to the Sammy Jeffrey format and said that he wanted to see the Championship have its own Blue Riband final no matter who was in it.
“A lot of people felt that the competition needed freshening up and I personally felt that bringing it into line with the rest of the North West cups was a positive step. I’m delighted that we’re in it of course but it was more about raising the profile of the competition itself.”