T20 semi-finals kick off another big weekend

Following on from last weekend’s series of cup semi-finals it’s the turn of the T20 competitions this Thursday night, as twelve teams bid for places in the Faughan Valley, Eric Cooke and Sperrin Springs deciders.

The Faughan Valley Cup carries with it the title of North West T20 champions and books the winner a place in the All-Ireland semi-finals; just two games away from representing Ireland in January’s T10 European Club league in Spain.

Hoping to bag that prize are current FV Cup holders Brigade, who will entertain Bready this week, while Ardmore welcome league leaders Donemana to the Bleachgreen.

Andy Britton’s men will be keen to put a very poor weekend behind them against a Bready team that has three matches on the road this weekend. Ian Young’s team has flexed its muscle in recent weeks and this should be quite a contest.

Ardmore haven’t fired at all so far in the defence of their league title, but have been unstoppable in the T20’s so far, and the only team in the competition to win all six of their group games.

Standing in their way of course is probably the form team in the region, and that too should ensure a cracking contest.

Newbuildings are also on a bit of a roll at present and the senior cup finalists will be favourites in the Eric Coke Cup against a Bonds Glen team who despite a heavy defeat at Strabane Park on Sunday, have done well in the first half of the season.

Killyclooney have clearly struggled in the top flight this year, but with their batting power in this format, visitors Eglinton can take nothing for granted here as they both bid to progress.

In the Sperrin Springs, Strabane make the trip to play a Coleraine side that has been so up-and-down this summer and it might come down to whether or not the Red Caps are able to travel at, or close to, full strength for the tie. Of course the Bannsiders have to make this journey at least every other week, so it can’t be used as an excuse, but on home soil, they’d be slight favourites.

St Johnston have also landed a home tie as they take on Fox Lodge with the Section 2 leaders proving to be a difficult proposition on their own patch. Could be a decent scoring game, this.

Turning our attention to the league campaign which reaches the halfway stage this weekend, there’s a full programme on Saturday followed by the one outstanding match between Ardmore and Bready on Sunday.

Leaders Donemana are around long enough to know that they can take nothing for granted when they go to Killyclooney for a top v bottom clash. On form of course the Holm side should be able consolidate their position at the head of the table.

Bready are back at Beechgrove again on Saturday while Coleraine entertain Eglinton; two games that again could go either way.

Similar comments apply to the game between Ardmore and Newbuildings where both sides need the points to keep them in contention.

In Section 2, leaders St Johnston face a tricky looking test at The Rectory while Strabane are unlikely to find Bonds Glen as accommodating as they were in Sunday’s Sam Jeffrey semi-final.

The Nedd could do with a win but are likely to find Fox Lodge a tough nut to crack while Ballyspallen will hope to continue their recent revival ahead of the visit of Burndennett.

 

This weekend’s fixtures-

Thursday (all games to start no later than 6.30 pm)

 

Faughan Valley Cup semi-finals

Brigade v Bready

Ardmore v Donemana

 

Eric Cooke Cup

Newbuildings v Bonds Glen

Killyclooney v Eglinton

 

Sperrin Springs Cup

Coleraine v Strabane

St Johnston v Fox Lodge

 

Saturday (12 noon starts)

 

Long’s SuperValu Section 1

Killyclooney v Donemana

Brigade v Bready

Ardmore v Newbuildings

Coleraine v Eglinton

 

Section 2

Glendermott v St Johnston

Bonds Glen v Strabane

The Nedd v Fox Lodge

Ballyspallen v Burndennett

 

Sunday

 

Section 1

Ardmore v Bready

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