CIVIL Service North take the bragging rights into today’s Challenge Cup semi-final against CIYMS after winning the league game between the teams at Belmont.

Ross Adair batted through the innings to finish 143 not out in CSN’s 242 for five, but the defending champions did not even threaten that total, never mind the new DLS target of 268 in 46 overs, the first innings having been cut short by rain.

Adair, renowned for his big-hitting exploits at the top of the order started unusually slowly – he had only 47 from 62 balls after 25 overs but his innings reached a stunning crescendo, and his next 96 runs came off just 65 balls, finishing with a total of 12 fours and seven sixes.

Trevor Britton bore the brunt of Adair’s hitting but he did pick up the big wickets of Stuart Thompson and in the in-form Paddy Beverland but no-one could dismiss Adair who dominated the fourth wicket stand of 118 with Beverland who scored 31.

If Adair was responsible for the majority of CSN’s runs, then Ben Adair can take the bowling honours which ensured his namesake’s innings was a winning one.

Ben Adair opened the bowling and took the early wickets of John Matchett and James Cameron-Dow but when he returned he took three wickets in an over to end CI’s outside hopes of victory, given to them by their captain, Nigel Jones.

Jones hit 84 from 87 balls, with six fours and three sixes but he could only watch from the other end as Adair dismissed Jacob Mulder, David Miller and Carson McCullough in his ninth over.

Luke Georgeson nipped in to dismiss Jones two overs later and, fittingly, Ben Adair wrapped up a 61 runs victory. And today, CSN will also have home advantage with a place in the NCU’s showpiece match at stake.

The other semi-final today is between North Down and Instonians and they suffered contrasting fortunes in their league ‘warm-ups’.

Instonians biggest obstacle tomorrow could be North Down opener Ani Chore who concluded his remarkable July with yet another undefeated innings.

The Indian-born batsman-wicket-keeper has now scored 324 runs since he was last dismissed – and that was after an innings of 80. He added another 63 to his tally yesterday, only 63 because North Down were only chasing 153.

Craig Young was back in North Down colours after missing the last three weeks on Ireland duty and he struck with the first ball of his third over, having Carrickfergus captain Michael Gilmour caught behind, the ball after Tom Mayes had also found the edge of Jeremy Lawlor’s bat.

So, once again, in a Carrick innings, it was up to Jacques Snyman to get them to a decent total but although he reached 50 for the 11th time this season, his innings was cut short just four runs later by Carl Robinson.

And that was just the first of six wickets for the slow bowler – his best figures for North Down – as Carrick collapsed from 105 for three, at the fall of Snyman’s wicket to 152 all out.

Alistair Shields went early in the home side’s reply but Chore and Sri Lankan professional Gayan Maneeshan put on 124 for the second wicket to make light of their target, which they achieved in the 31st over.

North Down, however, are still second to Waringstown who beat Instonians by 42 runs in a game reduced to 47 overs.

Andre Malan scored his fourth century of the season, exactly 100 from 73 balls with eight fours and seven sixes – his team-mates hit only 12 boundaries - as the Villagers totalled 237 for six, despite home skipper Andrew White bowling his 10 overs for 24 runs.

Instonians were never in the hunt, in pursuit of a target inflated to 240 with Nikolai Smith top scoring with 43 from 71 balls, before he was the second of three wickets in seven balls for White’s former Ireland’s spin twin Kyle McCallan.

Lisburn are stranded eight points adrift at the bottom of the table – although there is no relegation this year – after losing to the team immediately above them, Woodvale.

Harry Warke and James Hall got Woodvale off to another excellent start with 119 for the first wicket in just 20 overs – they shared 11 fours and three sixes – and Ruhan Pretorius then took over to hit 65 off 52 balls with 11 fours as the visitors smashed 252 for six in just 41 overs, after an early hold-up because of rain.

Lisburn reached 89 for one in reply after 18 overs but collapsed to 142 for nine as Kyle Walsh took his first five-for for Woodvale.

It needed a last wicket stand of 47 between Josh Manley (33 not out) and Boyd Rankin to close the final gap to 64 runs.