Feast of League and Cup action in double-header weekend
The North West cricket season is certainly in full flow at present and it’s action all the way this weekend with a full programme of senior fixtures on both days. Saturday sees the return to 50-over domestic cricket for the first time in almost two years as the opening round of the 2021 senior cup takes centre stage. The cup competition will be played in its original format including the popular 2-innings final and there will be plenty delighted to see its return.
Holders Donemana have a tricky start as they head to St Johnston. The Holm side have had their moments this season and although they will be red-hot favourites to progress, you wouldn’t want to be writing the Saints off, especially on their own turf. Perennial finalists Brigade have a home tie against Fox Lodge to negotiate and if Beechgrove offers a bit to the bowlers, this could also be interesting. Andy Britton’s men should win comfortably but there are a few in the visiting camp who won’t mind a bit of turn on offer.
The Nedd have agreed to make up the 16 this season and they host Bready in Ballykelly. The visiting side will be strongly fancied to progress but this is sure to be a huge occasion for the home team. Either way, it is likely to be a late night home for the Magheramason boys.
Ardmore were too strong for Strabane at the Park a couple of short weeks ago and the Red Caps will need to be at the top of their game to go through in this one. It’s probably fair to say that similar comments apply at Newbuildings where the home side will be fancied against a Glendermott team that has been out of sorts so far this season.
Coleraine came at cropper at Bonds Glen in their season-opening T20 match in May, but the Bannnsiders did level it up in the return game and will feel they should be able to make the quarter finals on Saturday. Eglinton will be fancied to see off Burndennett who have also struggled a touch this summer while Ballyspallen’s huge win at Donemana last time puts them in with a real shout at home to Killyclooney.
It’s then straight into a set of league fixtures on Sunday as teams start to complete their group matches ahead of the split. Game of the day could well be at Coleraine, where Newbuildings only need one more point to be absolutely sure of qualifying from Group B. The home side are also well placed to qualify in fourth place but still need a win from one of their final games to make sure. Eglinton and Donemana have already qualified from this group while Ballyspallen or Burndennett could take advantage if the Bannsiders trip up.
Group A is almost done with Bready and Ardmore having made the cut. Brigade and Fox Lodge should go through as well, however should either of them lose heavily on Sunday and St Johnston post a big win at Magheramason, things could change.
This weekend’s fixtures
NW Senior Cup (11am starts)
Coleraine v Bonds Glen
The Nedd v Bready
Strabane v Ardmore
Burndennett v Eglinton
Brigade v Fox Lodge
St Johnston v Donemana
Ballyspallen v Killyclooney
Newbuildings v Glendermott
Long’s SuperValu League (12 noon)
Ardmore v Fox Lodge
Glendermott v Brigade
Bonds Glen v Strabane
Bready v St Johnston
Eglinton v Killyclooney
Ballyspallen v Burndennett
Coleraine v Newbuildings