There’s a cracking week of cricket in store for the North West fraternity with action on a range of fronts over the next 7 days.
Things get underway on Saturday with a really intriguing set of fixtures in the Long’s SuperValu Premiership and Championship Divisions.
Then on Sunday, it’s the quarter-finals of the Bank of Ireland senior cup as well as the next round of the National Cup, and it doesn’t finish there either.
On Tuesday the North West Warriors entertain Leinster Lightning in a 50-over game at Eglinton before the two teams head to Bready 24-hours later for a 3-day Championship contest.
If those are anything like the recent T20 match between the pair it could be a fascinating watch.
Back to the domestic front for now however and what a sub-plot we have to the Ardmore v Brigade cup tie on Sunday. The Bleachgreen team won the tug-of-war to secure the services of Niall O’Brien for that game, albeit they will be without the classy keeper/batsman for the league meeting between the sides at Beechgrove the previous day.
It promises to be a mouth-watering scrap over the two days but while that is going on, Donemana will be hoping to take another step towards being the first team in the 130-year history of the competition to win the cup 7 times in a row.
Adding fuel to this particular fire is the fact that the Bannsiders recorded a sensational victory at the Holm in the league last weekend; a result that sent the champions to the bottom of the table.
There’s more chance of me winning the Derry Marathon than Donemana finishing there of course but it means the holders will need to be a lot more focused when they head to Sandel Lodge if they want to keep their record dream alive.
Both sides will warm up with testing league challenges on Saturday too- Scott Campbell’s in-form side at home to Bready while Ricky-Lee Dougherty’s team will need to be wary of a Fox Lodge outfit that lowered Brigade’s colours in style last time.
That Coleraine v Bready fixture could be game of the day on Saturday and could go either way too.
Similar comments apply to Strabane’s match against Eglinton which completes the league fixtures. Tommy Barr’s team looks well capable of picking up wins between now and the end of the season but they’re just a bowler light of pressing on from there.
With Newbuildings already through to the last four in the cup courtesy of a Marty Mehaffey-inspired win at Ballyspallen last Sunday, the last semi-final spot will be contested by Eglinton and Fox Lodge.
The home side are set to be without Stuart Thompson who is on Ireland duty and that would certainly level things up a bit.
The villagers might still just have enough about them, but Brian Allen’s team will happily go there as underdogs.
It looks like being a thrilling week of sport so hopefully, the weather will stay kind to one and all.
If ties are completed on Sunday, the semi-final draw will be made ‘live‘ on Radio Foyle at lunchtime on Monday.