CRICKET: Sammy Jeffrey Cup Final on this weekend

Michael Gillespie scored 42 during Strabane II's game against Ardmore II.
Michael Gillespie scored 42 during Strabane II's game against Ardmore II.

It should be quite a decent contest at Eglinton this coming Friday and Saturday as league leaders Fox Lodge take on St Johnston in the two-innings Sammy Jeffrey decider.

The Donegal side has improved dramatically in the second half of the season and could well be a match for a team that has, bar the Bonds Glen defeat, pretty much brushed aside all before them this season.

Action gets under way at 12 noon on both days at the village venue and we will have a report and pictures in next week’s round-up.

Fox Lodge are probably now just two wins away from a return to the Premier Division after they won one of only two Championship matches completed over the weekend.

Saturday’s scheduled game between Brian Allen’s men and Newbuildings was obviously postponed due to the latter’s National Cup involvement but they were on the money on Sunday in a five-wicket win against Burndennett.

It was hardly a great weekend for ’Dennett who were actually involved in both matches that were played; Mark Pollock’s men also on the wrong end of a tight game at Killyclooney on Saturday.

Skipper Pollock made 51 at the top of the order in that first one, with Mark Roulston and Gerard McCauley both chipping in with 45 in a total of 232 all out.

Mark Gordon (5-46) claimed the honours with the ball for the home team and it was their overseas man, Andre Henry, who dominated the reply.

The West Indian made 73 having been dropped when on seven and the mistake cost Burndennett dearly.

Mattie Barr (33), Alan Colhoun (31) and Gordon (28) all contributed too as despite Roulston, Mark Doherty and John McCormick all claiming two wickets apiece, ’Clooney fell over the line with just two wickets in hand.

There was a start made to Ballyspallen’s home game with Bonds Glen on Sunday but the umpires took the players off after just 4 overs with part of the outfield causing concern.

The visitors were 14-0 at that point but the players never got back on after that, leaving Fox Lodge and Burndennett with the stage to themselves.

This time however, Burndennett found the leaders’ bowling a lot tougher to negotiate and were dismissed for 128.

Mark Doherty’s 58 (10 fours and a six) was by far the best of it while Gareth Heywood (4-25) was top with the ball for the hosts.

The reply was decisive with Dean McCarter making 22 but Marco Marais providing the late fireworks as he impressively smashed 5 sixes and a four in his unbeaten 50.

Mark Roulston’s 3-33 put some respectability on the card but Burndennett are still stuck on six points, just two above the bottom place.

For the Foxies though it’s starting to look a case of when, rather than if, they will be preparing to return to the top flight in the not too distance future.