T20 Cup action tonight ahead of Saturday’s league programme

It’s another really busy few days upcoming for local sides with games in both the Long’s SuperValu Premier Division and the White Horse Hotel T20 cups pencilled in between Thursday and Saturday.

On Saturday we’re back to the bread and butter of the Long’s SuperValu Premier Division league campaign, and with the quarter-finals of the North West senior cup and the Sam Jeffrey Shield taking centre stage next weekend, points are certainly at a premium as everyone looks to lay down a foundation for their league campaign.

Brigade, the only team still in both senior cup competitions travel to Sandel Lodge on Saturday to take on a Coleraine side who sit top of the tree after the first two rounds of matches.

Things are obviously a little distorted at present as all the outstanding replays from Week 2 were washed out, except for the Coleraine v Newbuildings game which the visitors won. That was a huge result for Gareth McKeegan’s men because it prevented their hosts from opening up a big lead at the top, but as well as that it allowed the Foyle View side to claw back the points they lost on opening day while everyone else was sitting on their hands.

Coleraine will need to be better than they were against Newbuildings and an awful lot better than they were last Saturday at Pembroke if they are to get anything out of Brigade. That said, if they can get their overseas player situation resolved, and play like the did against Ardmore on Day 1, they are right in it here.

The local derby between Bready and Newbuildings could be the game of the day in this section with both sides seemingly having brought in decent overseas options.

Newbuildings look strong with both bat and ball once more and if ‘JT’ decides to play the full season, they’ll not be far away. Much depends for them on getting their first choice XI out every week, although that probably applies to the majority of teams.

Bready are likely to be without Davy Scanlon who picked up a stress fracture in his upper arm at the weekend and that leaves their bowling that bit lighter.

It’s a tough one to call, and it may come down to whichever ‘pro’ has the better day.

Eglinton are still looking for their first point and Donemana are hardly the team you’d want to be welcoming to your home whilst that remains the case.

To be fair to the villagers, they have enough quality to buck the trend very soon and in Liam Doherty they have a proven match-winner. It’s getting the depth of support to him that will tell the tale and the likes of Jamie and Andy Millar and Lahiru Dilshan are the players they will look to do that.

It’s not often you see Donemana handed a 10-wicket defeat by anyone but that’s exactly how they come into this one after losing heavily at Merrion last weekend. Raymond Curry has started really well in his new home and he is among several attacking batsmen that the villagers will be very wary of this time.

It depends on what kind of mood the visitors are in to a certain extent because if they have their sights set on a serious title challenge this season, these are the games the Holm side need to be winning.

Ardmore have little to show for their efforts so far this season either, but Rachit Gaur’s men will be red-hot favourites to see off Killyclooney. The visitors were always going to be rigorously tested in the new top flight this season but to their credit, they have come out swinging.

You’d expect nothing less from Timmy Dougherty’s men but they’re going to need more than character to survive this challenge,

A win at Ardmore would certainly charge their batteries for the summer ahead, but it’s difficult to see for now.

In Section 2, neither Strabane nor Fox Lodge have completed a league game yet although both progressed nicely in the National Cup last time out. Both also have tricky challenges ahead on Saturday- Strabane at home to a Ballyspallen side who are also into Round 2 of the All-Ireland competition while the Foxes entertain St Johnston.

The Red Caps are many people’s fancies to challenge for promotion this year and with Nasir Nawar, John Mooney, Aaron Gillespie, Rhys Logue and the Gallagher brothers part of a strong line-up, they have a live chance.

‘Spallen surprised a few last time by unveiling West Indian Tevyn Walcott and with James Cusack also looking like a superb addition, they’re nobody’s mugs this year.

Fox Lodge v The Saints could go either way and these are two sides who will also be keen to have a say in the promotion race.

Graeme McCarter has made a real difference at the Boathole and as always, the Donegal outfit seem to be enjoying their cricket.

The Foxes have several lads who could turn a game very quickly, but there’s little doubt that they’re missing Brian Allen in the top order. I’ll put this one down as a score draw!

Bonds Glen entertain a Burndennett side that you look at on paper and think ‘top three’. Mark Doherty, Mark Pollock, Conan Pollock and of course Niall McDonnell are obviously genuinely good players but they have the makings of a really good squad as well.

Derek ‘Fraggle’ Curry stepped up with the ball last weekend as he picked up a ‘fivefor’ in their National Cup defeat, but to be fair, you could easily say the same about the Bee Gees as their young players, and one or two not so young, continue to surprise.

Glendermott must have a serious chance in the promotion stakes this year and they head to The Nedd who also booked their National Cup second round place on Saturday.

The Rectory side looks full of runs this season and without wanting to single anyone out, Ben Mills looks happy without the armband.

Alan Johnson fits the same bill with Manav Chhabra and youngsters Lealand McElwee and Jake Montgomery all benefiting with a season under their belts.

The Nedd can never be taken lightly and there is nothing surer than they will surprise a few this season, although whether they can do it on Saturday or not remains to be seen.

Before all that there is also a full Thursday night programme in the White Horse Hotel T20 cups, with the full fixture list available below.

 

This weekend’s fixtures in full-

 

White Horse Hotel

 

Thursday (6.30 pm starts)

BW White Horse T20 cups

Bready v Newbuildings

Ballyspallen v St Johnston

Glendermott v Brigade

Coleraine v Bonds Glen

Eglinton v Ardmore

Strabane v Burndennett

The Nedd v Killyclooney

Fox Lodge v Donemana

 

Long’s SuperValu Premiership

Section 1

Coleraine v Brigade

Bready v Newbuildings

Eglinton v Donemana

Ardmore v Killyclooney

 

Section 2

The Nedd v Glendermott

Strabane v Ballyspallen

Bonds Glen v Burndennett

Fox Lodge v St Johnston

 

 

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