Cricket: Foxies stun Drummond to ignite promotion battle

Man of the match Andrew McBrine hits a 'four' for Donemana. Picture by Keith Moore/Press Eye
Man of the match Andrew McBrine hits a 'four' for Donemana. Picture by Keith Moore/Press Eye

Drummond looked to be having things very much their own way heading into the last lap of the promotion race but now find themselves firmly in a head-to-head scrap with Fox Lodge after a heavy defeat at the hands of the Ballymagorry men on Saturday.

The Roe Valley team had taken the initiative at the top of the table following a narrow, 5-run verdict in the reverse fixture but there was no mistake from Brian Allen’s outfit here.

The hosts were soon on the back foot as they batted first and although Kyle Morrow made a steady 35 at the top of the order, wickets tumbled regularly at the other end.

The bowling successes were share around too with Marco Marais (2-29) the most successful, but it mattered little.

A late 23 not out from Neal Stewart took Drummond up to 143-8 in their rain-reduced 47 overs, giving the bowlers something to work with, although as it turned out, not a lot.

Jason Milligan has been showing something like his old form this season and the opener was to carry his bat in the reply, hitting 8 fours and 2 sixes in an unbeaten 79. Luke Hayes is another young man heading in the right direction and a half century from him pretty much wrapped things up with little or no fuss.

The visitors had a whopping nine wickets to spare at the end and although Drummond went into the weekend with a sizeable net run rate advantage, this was a real statement from Fox Lodge.

Elsewhere the game between Creevedonnell and Newbuildings was abandoned after 18 overs following a heavy burst of rain with the home side 54-4.

All the attention however was on the absence of Creevedonnell professional Jean Symes who had to head back to South Africa at the weekend to deal with what the club described as “non-cricketing issues”.

A club spokesman said that they did not wish to add anything as this was a private matter for Jean and they simply wanted to wish him well.

With Glendermott and Bonds Glen inactive, the final game on Saturday saw the bottom two sides, Burndennett and Killyclooney cross swords with vital points at stake.

The visitors batted first in this one and a solid effort saw them post 170 all out in exactly 40 overs.

Derek Lynch top scored with 37 while Mark Gordon hit 5 fours and a six in his quick-fire 28.

Alan Colhoun chipped in with 24 while for the hosts, Mark Roulston, Stephen McCay, Ross McCay and John McCormick all claimed two wickets apiece.

Burndennett’s reply was very ordinary if truth be told with no-one able to get much of a start. The damage was done by ‘Clooney’s Kenny Stevenson and Jordan Connor who both picked up 4 wickets- the home side shot out for 78 in a 98-run defeat.

To be fair, Burndennett didn’t have to wait long to get the chance to put things right as their re-arranged match with Creevedonnell had been pencilled in for Sunday.

Still struggling to cope with the loss of Symes, the visitors were far from at their best here.

The hosts took full advantage to claim two valuable points.

Skipper Andy Barr made 49 for ’Donnell before Dale Thomas (21) and Don Dougherty (20) helped get them up to a modest 137 all out. John McCormick tidied things up at the end of the innings to finish with figures of 3-1 after Ross McCay (3-25) and Mark Roulston (2-34) had got among the top order, and the home side were emphatic in their reply.

Mark Pollock batted throughout as he cracked 12 fours and a six in his unbeaten 73 while Conan Pollock hit 4 fours to finish 32 not out- Burndennett losing just one wicket as they moved on to four points.

It has been a difficult season for the side who were only pipped for promotion on the final day of 2014 but there is now a three-way go between them, Creevedonnell and Killyclooney in the race to avoid that dreaded bottom place.