Fox Lodge handed themselves a lifeline in the North West Premiership by beating Bready by six runs on Duckworth-Lewis last night.
It was remarkably their first league victory of the season at the 11th time of asking but realistically, Jason Milligan’s side would still appear to require a miracle to stay up.
They simply had to beat Bready to have any chance of survival and maintaining a decade-long stay in the top flight but things didn’t look good for the Ballymagorry side when once again they blew a promising start with the bat. From 62 without loss they were soon 113 for seven and only some handy runs down the order, including 20 from Andrew McGinnis allowed them to reach 161 for nine in a game reduced to 43 overs per side. Iftikhar Hussain top scored with 48 while Ryan Barr was Bready’s best bowler with three for 39.
Fresh from their spectacular batting collapse against Coleraine on Saturday, Bready once again got themselves into trouble. David Rankin fell for just six but Bready were well placed on 40 for one before they began losing wickets at regular intervals.
Tabish Khan, the professional, claimed two for 26 and when the rain returned Bready were 90 for five in 26 overs, and just six runs behind on Duckworth-Lewis.
The result leaves Bready, the Ulster Cup winners, still sweating on their Premiership survival with everyone seeking to avoid the end-of-season play-off when the team in seventh place faces the runner-up from the Championship.
Eglinton eased their relegation play-off concerns yesterday thanks to a wonderful century from Ireland international Stuart Thompson against Ardmore. Thompson struck 10 fours and eight sixes as he slammed 168 out of a formidable total of 250 for four.
From there it was over to Richard Wylie, the spinner taking four for 51, including the prize wicket of Decker Curry for just five. Thompson bowled his eight overs for just nine runs as Ardmore’s reply never really got going. They were dismissed for 169 with Craig Averill also claiming a four-wicket haul in a priceless victory for the village side.
Ardmore now occupy the dreaded seventh place slot on their own but they do have two matches in hand on Eglinton and three on Bready. The Magheramason side will be concerned as they have just one match to play, at home against title-chasing Brigade.
The remaining North West fixtures are as follows: Saturday, September 6: Bready v Brigade, Donemana v Ardmore, Eglinton v Coleraine, Strabane v Fox Lodge. Sunday, September 7: Ardmore v Brigade, Coleraine v Strabane. Saturday, September 13: Ardmore v Strabane, Sunday, September 14: Ardmore v Fox Lodge.