Crunch Premiership clashes can light up weekend programme

Another busy weekend of domestic cricket gets underway on Friday evening with ‘Take 2’ for the T20 semi-finals, and after last week’s washouts, it’s now or never for those hoping to reach the respective finals.

Given that this is now the reserve date for those games, bowl-outs will come into play this weekend should games fail to reach a natural conclusion.

On Saturday we move on to a pivotal round of matches in the Long’s SuperValu leagues with some fascinating games in both divisions.

In the top flight, game of the day is at Foyle View where, for the third time in four weeks, there’s a top-two clash to whet the appetite. This one is all the more intriguing given that it’s also a dress rehearsal for this season’s Sports Hub senior cup final.

Donemana have led the table pretty much from the start and Gary McClintock’s men have come out on top in both of the previous first v second games against Coleraine and Brigade. They could well find Newbuildings a bit more difficult to handle, especially with the game coming as it does straight after the Holm men’s first league defeat of the season against bottom side Killyclooney.

We’ve become accustomed to Donemana being in top form these days so it will be really interesting to see how they react to that reverse.

For their part, Newbuildings have already lost three times in the league so far, however they haven’t been beaten by the weather the way some of the other challengers have, so they’re still well in the hunt. They have players like Ryan Hunter, Jason Dunn, Samarth Seth, Ross Hunter, Trent McKeegan and Ross Dougherty all in red-hot form at present and the home side know that a win here would probably take them to the top of the table.

Brigade in third host Eglinton in fourth- the villagers coming around very well after a sluggish start to their campaign. Liam Doherty and Andy Millar were in brilliant form for them in an emphatic win at Coleraine last weekend and although Brigade have a fair array of match-winners in the side, they can ill-afford any repeat of their poor showings at Donemana and Newbuildings.

Andy Britton’s team will have to be at their best to win this and there’s plenty of incentive for them in knowing that one of the sides above them will slip up on Saturday.

Ardmore seemed to really click into gear at home to Bready on Sunday but whether they’ll have Aviwe Mgijima available for their trip to Coleraine remains to be seen. They do have plenty of quality with or without him of course, but Coleraine are another side who have blown hot and cold this season, and mostly the latter of late.

Killyclooney get the chance to build on their shock win over the leaders last weekend- their first of the season- when they entertain Bready this time around. The Magheramason side has also struggled for consistency this season, but it’s difficult to see them following Donemana down the same rabbit hole and they should have more than enough about them to avoid any nasty surprises.

In Section 2, St Johnston go to vastly-improved Ballyspallen and it looks like Lady Luck may be on the Saints’ side if, as expected, Graham Kennedy will be back in Australia by the time the Donegal men get down the Rush Hall Road.

‘GK’ had a massive impact on his side’s fortunes during his month-long trip home and having started very slowly, ‘Spallen now sit third in the table and with a National Cup semi-final on the horizon.┬áIn the form they’re in however, the visitors might just be too strong in this one.

Strabane in second have a local derby against Fox Lodge to negotiate and much will depend on what type of side the respective clubs can put out.

The Red Caps are clearly better when John Mooney plays and ditto Fox Lodge with Brian Allen. The pair also boast two of the best overseas players in the league in Gayan Maneeshan (Foxes) and Nasir Nawar (Strabane). Form, and indeed home advantage point to Strabane but it’s one of the more difficult games to call.

Glendermott really need to get back to winning ways after a shaky mid-season and they should be able to cope with Burndennett, albeit Conan Pollock’s side have definitely looked more competitive in recent weeks.

The Nedd are still looking for their first league win of the season and they wouldn’t be without a chance at home to Bonds Glen. The Bee Gees do have several players in good nick at the minute and they won’t want to concede to the league’s bottom team here.

 

Full fixture list for the weekend-

 

Friday night (all 6.30 starts)

Faughan Valley Cup semi-finals

Ardmore v Donemana

Brigade v Bready

 

Eric Cooke Cup semi-finals

Killyclooney v Eglinton

Newbuildings v Bonds Glen

 

Sperrin Springs Cup

Coleraine v Strabane

St Johnston v Fox Lodge

 

Saturday (all 12 noon starts)

Long’s SuperValu Premiership Section 1

Killyclooney v Bready

Brigade v Eglinton

Newbuildings v Donemana

Coleraine v Ardmore

 

Section 2

Glendermott v Burndennett

Ballyspallen v St Johnston

The Nedd v Bonds Glen

Strabane v Fox Lodge

 

 

 

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