Packed weekend programme across four competitions

There’s any amount of cricket for spectators to enjoy this weekend with action in the Sports Hub senior cup, the Sam Jeffrey Shield, Long’s SuperValu League and White Horse T20 cups all scheduled over the next few days.

The senior cup and Sammy Jeffrey Shield have reached the semi-final stage and there are certain some very tasty ties to look forward to on Sunday.

It’s obviously a massive weekend for both Fox Lodge and Newbuildings who meet in both the league and the cup, in the space of 24 hours.

On Sunday the pair will renew rivalries at Ballymagorry in a repeat of last year’s Sports Hub senior cup final. On that occasion, Aaron Heywood’s men came through what was widely regarded as one of the most competitive deciders in recent memory- played out in front of a crowd of more that 2000 at a sun-splashed village venue.

The visitors will be favourites to get their revenge this weekend and although form goes out the window in these games, it is worth noting nonetheless.

The Foxes lost their opening league game of the season away at St Johnston, but since then have played seven more times in league and cup and won them all.

Newbuildings have played five times in the league, winning two and losing three, and although they have been emphatic on their cup run, this is no foregone conclusion.

Gareth McKeegan’s side is awash with big game players- the skipper along with Johnny Thompson and Ryan Hunter men with plenty of cup pedigree.

They have quality throughout the squad, with both bat and ball, and if the likes of Ross Dougherty, Jason Dunn, Trent McKeegan and overseas man Hanu Viljoen do come off, the warning signs will be there for the hosts.

I wouldn’t be in any hurry to write off the Foxes however. Skipper Heywood is on a very good run himself and has a really good ‘pro’ in Gayan Maneeshan by his side, as well as the excellent Adam Walker with the new ball.

You add in Brian Allen, Jonny Robinson, Jason Milligan and men like Travis Nicholl and Craig Doherty who are well capable of sending a few across the main road and this could be game on.

Brigade will be favourites too as they head to Eglinton for their semi-final.

Andy Britton’s team have been on a really good run of late and they’ve never made any secret about this trophy being at the top of their wish list.

Brigade’s batting looks very strong- David Barr, Scott Macbeth, Iftikhar Hussain, Adam McDaid and Cameron Melly have all been among the runs in the first half of the season and the villagers need to be at their absolute best with the ball.

Mike Erlank, Liam Doherty, Andy Millar and Tommy Orr have performed well too so far this season, but it’s whether or not they can find the support in the middle and lower order that could tell the tale.

In the Sam Jeffrey, Bready look far too strong for Ballyspallen, although the Roe Valley side will surely see this as a ‘free hit’. The visitors have worked hard over the past few years both on their youth set-up and their ground.

There’s no doubt if they keep at it, the rewards are ahead of them, but if Bready are on it on Sunday, anything other than a home win would be a major surprise.

St Johnston entertain Coleraine in the other semi-final and this one is very difficult to call.

The Bannsiders seem to be on the road constantly at the minute but if they’re at, or near full capacity for this one, they’d definitely have a chance.

Home advantage is huge for the hosts and they’ll look to make that count, however the toss of a coin at the start could also be pivotal if the Bannsiders hope to dictate the contest.

In Saturday’s league games, the four teams at the top can take a huge step towards a Premier Division place next season should they win again.

Newbuildings’ need is definitely greater than Fox Lodge’s on Saturday and the game at Foyleview Arena presents the home side both the chance to close the gap on the top four and also make a statement of intent ahead of Sunday’s Cup clash at Ballymagorry.

Brigade can settle their league business early in terms of qualifying, but the leaders look to have a tricky afternoon in front of them as they entertain an Ardmore team who themselves have only lost once in the league.

Killyclooney have a chance to stamp their authority as they go to Bonds Glen, where once again all eyes will be on Blayde Capell as records continue to fall in his path.

Bready can also write their name in pencil for 2024 as well, however they do have to go to Donemana on Saturday so while a sixth win is possible for all of them, it looks a tough ask this weekend at least.

At the other end, Glendermott have a glorious chance to get their first points on the board as they entertain Burndennett while the other two games are key for the teams competing for potentially the last couple of ‘top eight’ place.

Coleraine are very much in the box seat at the minute and they entertain an Eglinton side that has won just one of their opening five matches. There’s a long way to go of course but the villagers really don’t want to give themselves too much more to do on the back nine.

Strabane too would probably need to win at St Johnston to keep their hopes alive and that is often easier said than done at the Boathole.

The Red Caps did however have Aaron Gillespie back at the weekend and his addition to the squad definitely does their chances no harm at all.

And if all that isn’t enough, there’s a full programme of T20 Group matches down for decision on Thursday night- the penultimate round of fixtures before the various cup semi-finalists are confirmed.

 

The full senior fixture list is as follows-

 

BEST WESTERN WHITE HORSE T20 CUPS

Thursday 29 June

Coleraine v Ardmore

St Johnston v Bready

Eglinton v Glendermott

Bonds Glen v Killyclooney

Newbuildings v Burndennett

Ballyspallen v Strabane

Fox Lodge v Brigade

 

LONG’S SUPERVALU SENIOR LEAGUE

Saturday 1 July (12 noon)

Glendermott v Burndennett

Brigade v Ardmore

Newbuildings v Fox Lodge

St Johnston v Strabane

Bonds Glen v Killyclooney

Coleraine v Eglinton

Donemana v Bready

 

SPORTS HUB NW SENIOR CUP SEMI-FINALS

Sunday 2 July (11am)

Fox Lodge v Newbuildings

Eglinton v Brigade

 

SAMMY JEFFREY SHIELD SEMI-FINALS

Sunday 2 July (11am) 

Bready v Ballyspallen

St Johnston v Coleraine

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