There’s plenty of cricket to compliment what looks set to be a sunny weekend in the North West with Saturday’s Long’s SuperValu league fixtures preceded on Thursday evening by the start of the Best Western White Horse Hotel T20 competition.
The stakes are high these days in the T20 Cups- the four group winners will go forward to the semi-finals of the Faughan Valley Cup competition with the outright winner then competing in the All-Ireland semi finals and the chance to win a spot in the European Club League.
Brigade know what it’s like to do just that of course and they get their campaign off and running in a mouth-watering clash at Donemana. These two sides will be no strangers over the next few weeks; having played out a cracking league game at Beechgrove last Saturday they meet again at the Holm in the quarter-finals of the senior cup in seven days time!
There should be some crowd at the Tyrone venue for this one on Thursday night.
There could be a few runs scored at Killyclooney too; Glendermott are the visitors there, while in-form Strabane make the short trip to Burndennett for their opener.
Coleraine have a longer drive as they head to Ardmore and the Bannsiders must have thought about making a weekend out of it as they’re back at the ‘Green on Saturday!
The full list of T20 fixtures can be found below-
Best Western White Horse T20 Fixtures
Thursday evening (6.30pm)
Killyclooney v Glendermott
Newbuildings v Ballyspallen
Ardmore v Coleraine
Donemana v Brigade
Eglinton v Bonds Glen
Bready v St Johnston
Burndennett v Strabane
On Saturday, the focus switches to the league and with just 5 points separating the top seven teams in the table, it is clear just how competitive this senior division is set to be.
Donemana remain top despite their defeat at Brigade last weekend and Dwayne McGerrigle’s men entertain a Fox Lodge side that hasn’t tasted defeat domestically since the opening day of the season.
Having already beaten Brigade this year, Aaron Heywood’s side would love nothing more than another huge scalp, but this is a real test of the Foxes’ ambitions for 2023.
Strabane are in second place after a fantastic start to their summer and Aaron Gillespie’s team look in the mood at present.
The Red Caps would usually be favourites heading to Killyclooney, and probably are again, however Timmy Dougherty’s side seem to relish the ‘underdog’ tag. The home side have a few very attacking batsmen in the ranks and Blayde Capell their overseas man is at the top of the list.
If the visitors keep him quiet it will certainly give them a major advantage, however Strabane will be confident that they have enough quality of their own to get the job done.
Bready v Newbuildings challenges Donemana v Brigade for the ‘match-of-the-day’ tag.
The hosts are currently unbeaten in the league and will be keen to keep that run intact against their neighbours. They have a really good balance in the squad these days but they will come up against a Newbuildings side keen to turn things around after two defeats in their opening three league matches.
Gareth McKeegan might feel they have a point to prove on Saturday and the home side will want to be on their guard against a wounded pack.
Ardmore will be playing just their second league game as they renew rivalries with Coleraine while Brigade v Eglinton could be another fascinating contest.
Both teams will be eyeing up those top eight places first and foremost but both are equally capable of stringing a run together to contest for honours. A win for either side would be a real statement of intent with the hosts slight favourites.
The full list of league fixtures and current table can be found here-
Long’s SuperValu Senior League
Saturday (12 noon)
Donemana v Fox Lodge
Bready v Newbuildings
Ballyspallen v St Johnston
Killyclooney v Strabane
Brigade v Eglinton
Ardmore v Coleraine
Bonds Glen v Glendermott
LONG’S SUPERVALU SENIOR LEAGUE- CURRENT STANDINGS
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