The new domestic season gets going tomorrow as North West clubs hopefully embark on a full season of competitive cricket. Restrictions are still very much in place of course- no changing rooms, showers or bars, and no spectators except for a handful of ground staff at each venue meaning only the shorter format of the game is an option for now.
It all kicks off then with the Best Western White Horse Hotel T20 as the 15 senior clubs are split in to three groups of four teams and one of three.
And if everything goes according to plan over the next six weeks, the Union will move to a 40-over league competition and the traditional 50-over senior cup competition as the summer unfolds.
Because of the uncertainty of previous months there has been little player movement over the close season with one or two notable exceptions. And while several clubs have named their overseas professional for 2021, the likelihood is that only a small number will be here and available to play by 2pm on Saturday.
The T20 groups have thrown up some potentially exciting clashes for the early weeks and game of the day in Week 1 could be at the Rectory where Glendermott entertain Bready.
The home side have lost a few players but have brought in one or two as well including Warriors player Nathan McGuire who will stay in the North West at least until the Leinster senior season starts.
It’s more of the same for Bready this year and Davy Scanlon will hope the return of overseas professional Irosh Samarasooriya can keep them among the main challengers.
Eglinton and Fox Lodge are two sides who will also be along the same lines as last year and they too could serve up an interesting afternoon at the village venue.
Ballyspallen will rely on a fairly young squad this year under skipper Andy Christie and the Roe Valley men welcome an Ardmore side who could have one or two new faces on board.
Brigade have two games on the opening weekend- Andy Britton’s side are at home to Killyclooney on Saturday before travelling to Strabane a day later. The Beechgrove side are also expected to have a couple of changes to the squad that lost out in last season’s senior cup final, but will still be hopeful of making a positive start to the group stages.
We’ll have all the scores and a full round-up from tomorrow’s games on the website during the evening.