BRIGADE, the defending Premiership champions, squeezed into the Play-Off matches for this year’s title by the skin of their teeth yesterday, thankful that Bready defeated Bonds Glen in the other significant final match in Group A.

The champions lost at home to Fox Lodge by 16 runs, and if the Bee Gees had won at Magheramason it would have been them and not Brigade who would have claimed the final top four spot behind Bready, Ardmore and the Foxes.

Brian Allen and Johnny Robinson both scored half-centuries for Fox Lodge, but it was only a last wicket partnership between Simon Olphert and Ryan Macbeth of 54 which got Brigade within 16 runs of the the visitors’ total.

Teenager Raymond Curry scored his second century of the season for Bonds Glen out of his side’s 189, but Bready, the team of the season so far, made it seven wins out of seven thanks to a second wicket stand of 142 in 17 overs between David Rankin and Irosh Samarasooriya to end the Bee Gees’ Premiership ambitions for this year.

The fourth place in Group B was settled in unfortunate circumstances when the game between Burndennett and Coleraine was abandoned after the home side’s opening batsman Eddie McGettigan collapsed, believed through heat exhaustion, following his innings of 76 and was taken to hospital.

Reports last night confirmed that Eddie was responding well to treatment and everyone wishes him a speedy recovery. According to the North West website, Burndennett have forfeited the match, so Coleraine will complete the Premiership top eight with Group A rivals Newbuildings, Eglinton and Donemana.

Newbuildings finished top of the group after chasing down Donemana’s 217 in just 33 overs. Ryan Hunter finished 94 not out against his former club, hitting 15 fours and two sixes from 97 balls, sharing stands of 90 with skipper Gareth McKeegan and 100 unbeaten for the fourth wicket in 11 overs with Johnny Thompson.