NORTH County's battle to avoid relegation out of the Leinster League's top flight will go down to the final weekend - and standing in their way of a possible escape are their great rivals The Hills! County lost to YMCA on Sunday while the other team likeliest to go down - Merrion - somehow picked themselves up from their Irish Cup Final defeat 24 hours earlier to defeat Terenure.
Those results mean County must defeat The Hills at The Inch next Saturday (play starts at noon) and hope that other results go their way if they are to remain in Division 1 next season. Playing YMCA at home County lost the toss and were then made to rue an early dropped catch as Ireland international star Trent Johnson survived on 5 before going to make his team's top score, 69, out of a total of 233-7. Still, North County's innings began very promisingly and they raced onto 41 without loss off just five overs, but slowly YMCA managed to peg them back and a dramatic late collapse saw the Balrothery men go from 153-2 to 204 all out. In the other Division 1 match involving the local teams, newlycrowned Irish Cup winners The Hills came up against a Leinster side who had already clinched the league title a number of weeks ago. Despite the festivities of the night before, The Hills bowled impressively to reduce their hosts to 162 all out, with Nazeer Shoukat (4-22) once again starring with the ball, aided by Max Sorensen's 3-43. However, the Skerries men struggled with the bat, with only Raza (53) making a significant score as his side came up 17 runs short of victory.