Cup action dominates on busy domestic weekend

It’s all about the cups this weekend as Saturday’s quarter-final ties in the Sports Hub senior cup and the Sam Jeffrey Shield follow on after another Thursday night of White Horse T20 action.

There are some mouth-watering ties in the region’s blue riband competition on Saturday, starting at Beechgrove where Andy Britton’s men will entertain Coleraine. The two teams are due to meet in a T20 group game at Sandel Lodge on Thursday but there’s no doubt they’ll both have their eyes fixed on the weekend tussle.

Coleraine finally have their new overseas man, Cephas Zhuwao in tow and after a fairly dramatic batting collapse at the same venue in the league last weekend, the Bannsiders will be glad of the Zimbawean’s arrival.

Everything points to a home win in this one but with Marcus Poskitt in good touch, and the likes of Scott Campbell, Craig Averill, Matty Smyth, and the Hutchinson boys very capable of playing a major hand, this is definitely no ‘gimme’.

With the senior final being staged at Beechgrove this summer there is more than enough motivation for the hosts, and they too have proven match-winners in David Barr, Iftikhar Hussain, Adam McDaid and the bang-in-form Scott Macbeth, as well as skipper Britton and their two other Warriors players, Cameron Melly and Marcello Piedt.

Coleraine have a puncher’s chance- there’s no doubt about that- but Brigade are long odds-on favourites to progress.

Game of the day could well be at Newbuildings where Ardmore are the visitors and while the champions haven’t quite caught fire yet this season, they certainly have the tools for it.

The batting has been a bit subdued up to now, bar Rachit Gaur and to a lesser extent Ciaran Roundtree, but with the likes of Dharm Singh, Harry Zimmermann and Ryan Brolly forming a fairly solid top order, there’s more to come.

Johnny Thompson was in the Newbuildings team for their first round win at home to Strabane and it will be interesting to see if he appears again on Saturday.

They looked to have a really decent overseas player in Samarth Seth while skipper Gareth McKeegan is joined in the top order by a couple of other aggressive batsmen in Jason Dunn and Ryan Hunter.

Again, the hosts are slight favourites on recent form, but it’s difficult to call.

Bready will be expected to win at home to an Eglinton side who have been a bit in and out so far. There’s no doubt the villagers have enough quality- Lahiru Dilshan has the three Millar boys and Liam Doherty for company for a start, but they looked off it at home to Donemana in the league at the weekend despite the skipper’s efforts.

Ian Young’s side will probably still be without the injured Davy Scanlon, but they too have found what looks to be a decent overseas player in Parth Palawat.

David Rankin and Gavin Roulston have been in excellent form with the bat so far and while you can make a case for both sides, Bready could edge it.

Donemana go to Glendermott with the visitors chock-full of potential match-winners. There seems to be runs throughout the order at the minute and Raymond Curry looks a great addition this year.

The home team have a few themselves of course- Ben Mills has been outstanding this season while Alan Johnson isn’t far behind and if the Tyrone side were to slip up, the Rectory men could be awkward to work with.

When it comes to the senior cup however we always seem to see the real Donemana and it’s unlikely we’ll see anything less on Saturday.

In the Sammy Jeffrey, Killyclooney get the chance to put a difficult start behind them when they entertain St Johnston in their quarter-final tie. The Saints though moved to the top of Section 2 on Sunday with an impressive win over Strabane and they will fancy their chances here.

The Nedd have been drawn at home to a Burndennett team who posted a morale-boosting win at home to Bonds Glen last weekend. Niall McDonnell has shown glimpses of his class in recent weeks and the home side wouldn’t want to let him get going.

The home side have had their moments too and will certainly carry a threat in a tight looking contest.

Ballyspallen have given Strabane a few things to think about in recent meetings and the Red Caps will be desperate to bounce back from Sunday’s poor showing against St Johnston when these two meet this weekend.

On their day, Kevin Gallagher’s side would be a match for any in the league, but ‘Spallen are nobody’s mugs this year and they’ll take advantage if the hosts aren’t on their game.

Fox Lodge will be fancied to go through to the last four having started reasonably well, but last weekend’s defeat apart, so too have the Bee Gees. This is another one of those games that could be an awful lot closer than it looks.

 

This weekend’s fixtures-

 

Saturday

Sports Hub Senior Cup (11 am)

Brigade v Coleraine

Glendermott v Donemana

Newbuildings v Ardmore

Bready v Eglinton

 

Sam Jeffrey Shield (11 am)

Killyclooney v St Johnston

Fox Lodge v Bonds Glen

The Nedd v Burndennett

Strabane v Ballyspallen

 

 

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