Instonians took a huge stride to the NCU Premier League title with an emphatic eight wickets victory over CIYMS at Belmont on Thursday. Nikolai Smith’s side are eight points clear with just two games remaining.

Indeed, they can win the title on Saturday if they beat Waringstown at The Lawn and Lisburn lose at North Down.

Cade Carmichael was the undisputed man of the match at Belmont, dismissing three of CI’s powerful top five and then hurrying Instonians to the winning post with an unbeaten 56 from just 27 balls, including seven fours and three sixes. They won with 17 balls to spare.

The home side, who welcomed back Mark Adair from Ireland duty – he hit 18 off 10 balls and dismissed Instonians professional Shane Dadswell - gave themselves a chance by blasting 44 off the last three overs, mainly thanks to Allen Coulter who thumped four sixes in his 18-ball 34.

Rain between the innings reduced the Instonians innings to 11 overs but after Shane Getkate had hit 21 off seven balls, including back to back sixes off professional Ed Nuttall, their target of 92 was always comfortably in sight.

It was a bad dress rehearsal for CI whose next T20 game is Sunday’s All-Ireland Cup final against Balbriggan when they will look to win the trophy for the third time in five years.

At the bottom of the Premiership table, Woodvale claimed a huge victory in their battle to beat the drop, beating Cliftonville Academy by nine wickets in another rain affected game at Ballygomartin Road.

After restricting Cliftonville Academy to 114 for eight in 18 overs, Woodvale were set a revised target of 56 in seven overs and they needed only 29 balls after Ruhan Pretorius crashed four sixes in his 14-ball innings of 33.

Earlier Abhishek Raut was 77 not out when the rain ended  the Cliftonville Academy innings. The Indian professional faced 54 balls and hit four fours and six sixes.

Woodvale can extend their advantage over basement side Derriaghy to eight points with victory at Carrickfergus but their survival remains in their own hands because their other two games are against Derriaghy who must play both games without Patrick Kruger who has returned home to South Africa.

Muckamore will replace the bottom side in the top flight next year, having clinched the Section One title, after 14 straight wins, with four games to spare. Their final home game is against Cregagh on Friday evening.