IT looks like the race for the Premier League title is all over bar the shouting after Waringstown came through their toughest remaining challenge with a 12 runs victory over outgoing champions CIYMS.

Indeed, it could be all over today if Woodvale beat North Down in their rearranged 20-over game this afternoon but even if the Comber side follow up their impressive win over Civil Service North yesterday they must still get past CIYMS next Saturday and even then Waringstown will be crowned champions with victory at Carrickfergus.

It was a Premiership winning performance in the end at Belmont yesterday but it needed a hat-trick from Graham Hume to swing the game the way of the Villagers.

CI, in reply to Waringstown’s 275 for eight, were on course for victory at 218 for two in the 44th over with Nigel Jones and Graham Kennedy picking up the pace in a stand of 76. But then Hume struck, first dismissing Kennedy, thanks to a fine low catch at mid-on by Morgan Topping, then bowling Jason van der Merwe.

Incredibly Jacob Mulder played no shot to the hat-trick delivery and umpire Howard Bingham had no hesitation giving him out leg before. In the space of three balls, CI needed to score almost 10 runs an over for the last five.

Jones and James Cameron-Dow, however, kept it interesting – as it invariably is between these top two sides – and after James Mitchell was hit for 12 in the 48th over, the target was down to 23 off 12 balls.

But Mitchell got his revenge by running out Cameron-Dow, going for an impossible second to keep Jones in strike, and Hume then bowled Davy Miller to leave CI needing 17 off the last over.

Jones was still there but only for two balls, beaten by a superb Mitchell yorker and with the skipper’s dismissal CI’s last hope had gone.

The most relieved man in the ground at the end was probably Jones’ opposite number Lee Nelson who brought himself onto bowl the 38th over but it ended up lasting 12 balls (with six wides).

Yet it was Nelson who had put Waringstown into such a powerful position at halfway, after turning his first 50 of the season into a century, from 101 balls with 11 fours and three sixes.

With professional Andre Malan having to return to South Africa last week, a reshuffle in the batting order was needed and Nelson took the challenge head-on score his first century since his career best 126 against CIYMS in 2014.

Hume gave him great support in a stand of 103 for the fifth wicket and went on to score 74 with seven fours and three sixes.

On a good day for captains, North Down’s Alistair Shields also scored a century in his side’s 258 for four. He was third out in the 47th over and Peter Eakin and Ryan Haire then added 49 in 20 balls.

It was still game on at halfway but, crucially, Tom Mayes dismissed Luke Georgeson in the fourth over and when Ryan Haire ended Ross Adair’s quick-fire 46 (seven fours and a six) North Down were big favourites. The win was all but sealed four runs later when Shields took the wicket of Stuart Thompson.

Ruhan Pretorius scored the day’s other Premier League century, 102 from 105 balls with 12 fours and two sixes in Woodvale’s 244 against Instonians at Shaw’s Bridge.

It was enough to claim a 31 runs victory despite Cade Carmichael hitting 83 for the home side, in an innings which included nine fours and two sixes.

Cliftonvile Academy are set to make their Premier League debut next season after crushing Bangor by 251 runs yesterday.

They leaders can still be caught by Derriaghy if the Queensway side beat them in the final game next Saturday but their run-rate is so superior that they cannot be overtaken.

Cregagh have a match in hand and if all three teams finish on 60 points then they will also gain promotion as they are comfortably second best on run-rate.

Max Burton produced the innings of the day for Cliftonville Academy with his third century of the season, a massive 172 from 128 balls with 22 fours and four sixes to take his season’s tally to 992.

Jay Hunter also reached 900 for the season when scoring exactly 100 for Cregagh in their 144 runs win against Donaghcloney Mill, while Derriaghy had to be satisfied with a 36 runs win over Templepatrick.