The season-long Championship battle between Drummond and Fox Lodge was finally resolved on Saturday afternoon as the Roe Valley side claimed a decisive win over Creevedonnell to claim promotion to next season’s Premier Division.
Going into the match, Drummond were two points behind Fox Lodge but also marginally adrift on Net Run Rate as well, therefore the win needed to be quick and decisive to overhaul the leaders.
The issues was muddied by the fact that the visitors desperately needed points themselves in their bid to stay afloat at the bottom of the table and Don Dougherty gave them a reasonable start as he made 32.
Unfortunately however there was little support elsewhere and four wickets for home skipper Steve Moore, three for Damien Carlin and a couple for Simon Dunn saw Drummond wrap the first innings up pretty quickly after that.
A final total of 73 all out was never going to be enough to stop Moore’s team winning but it was now all about how quickly they could do it.
The skipper felt that if they wrapped up the win in 15 overs or less they would overhaul the Foxies and despite a shaky start, his men delivered just that.
A couple of wickets each for Jordan Curry and Leighton McGarrigle certainly wasn’t in the script as Drummond’s nerves showed at the start before Chris Moore calmed it all down with the innings they needed.
The former Limavady all-rounder hit 5 fours and a six on his way to 37 not out that allowed the home team to pass the winning line after just 11.2 overs.
A nervy wait to have the run rates checked and confirmed ensued before skipper Moore was invited up to collect the trophy meaning that Drummond will now be back in the top flight of North West cricket for the first time since 2005.
It was difficult not to feel sorry for the Foxies whose only defeat in the whole campaign was a five-run reverse at home to the new champions; a defeat they emphatically redressed in the recent return fixture that took us down to the run rate verdict.
The Foxies, minus their overseas man Marco Marais will now tackle either St Johnston or Bready in the end of season play-off to see which of them will join Drummond in the Long’s Supervalu Premiership in 2016.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Bonds Glen posted a much-needed win as they beat Glendermott at the Rectory.
The hosts batted first here but were never really firing as Derek Curry (3-33) and David Cooke (2-33) kept them pinned back early on.
It took a late 43 runs from Stuart Cochrane to help get Glendermott up to a respectable total as their innings closed on 133 all out.
The visitors lost wickets steadily during the chase as Cochrane and Jack Glenn picked up a couple each but a steady 40 from Cooke and an unbeaten 23 from Derek Curry eased them through with three to spare.
Burndennett were also on the winning trail as they made it four on the spin with a convincing performance up at Killyclooney.
Derek Lynch made an impressive half century for the hosts while skipper Mark Gordon (41) and Giles Moan (26) also contributed to a total of 215.
A five wicket haul from Aidan Boyle and three from skipper Mark Roulston ensured that the target wasn’t any higher.
In-form Lee Pollock (70) again batted superbly for Burndennett while Boyle’s 41 not out followed up his bowling feat with an excellent effort with the bat.
Ross McCay (36) and Jimmy Boyle (22) were also on the mark and although Jordan Connor claimed three wickets, Burndennett always had matters in hand.
The final game of the weekend saw Glendermott head to Northland Road to tackle Newbuildings and Alan Johnson’s men finally bucked their run of losses with an impressive 43-run victory over the recent Sammy Jeffrey winners.
A half century from Gordon Montgomery (7 fours and a six) as well as 30’s for Jack Glenn and skipper Johnson, and with a single from Glenn Allen helped the visitors’ post 165 all out in 30 overs.
Newbuildings were in trouble early on in the reply as David Croft (3-17), Dean Curry (2-8) and Jack Glenn (2-27) reduced them to 25 for 6 before a half century from Marty Mehaffey got them back into it.
It wasn’t enough however as Newbuildings were finally bowled out for 122 runs - Glendermott cementing third place in the table with their win.