CRUCIAL PERIOD FOR STRABANE WITH LEAGUE AND CUPS UP FOR GRABS

A busy end to the season is usually either a sign of bad weather or a successful summer and for Strabane it has been very much a case of the latter, so far at least.

Keeping the team intact after last season's relegation to the Championship was always going to mean that the Red Caps would be very competitive this time and their schedule over the next ten days is testament to that.

On Saturday Barry Scott takes his team to Terenure for the semi-final of the National Cup and it's a quick run back up the road after that to prepare for a semi-final, and hopefully a final as well in Sunday's T20 Ulster Shield.

Strabane will meet Armagh in the first game of the day (12 noon) while in the other semi-final St Johnston will host Saintfield at the Boathole. The two winners will then meet in the final at the Park at 4.30.

There is little respite after that either- the players getting Monday off before starting an evening league game at home to Burndennett on Tuesday- that one abandoned after the injury to Aaron McDermott last weekend.

The Championship fixture is scheduled to finish on Thursday night and there's just another one-day break before next weekend's league double-header against Glendermott on Saturday and Bonds Glen on Sunday.

Both of those are to be played at the Park as well so while it's a busy programme, at least once they get the Terenure game out of the way there is no more travelling involved for a while.

Skipper Barry Scott suggested that while he was delighted that they had plenty of meaningful cricket coming up, it would be a challenge to get their strongest team out for such an intense schedule.

"It's fantastic to be in the latter stages of these competitions with a realistic chance of winning but it requires huge committment from everybody" he began.

"As with most teams we have guys on holiday or with alternate shift patterns at work, and that's before you even consider domestic committments."

"We got to the final of the North West T20 so as well as affecting league fixtures we now have an additional game, or hopefully two on Sunday in the Ulster T20's."

"The postponed Burndennett match absolutely couldn't be helped so there's a good excuse for that but it's a really heavy workload for our small squad."

"Promotion remains the main goal but having come so far in the cups we want to do ourselves justice now. It will probably meaning pooling our resources for the next week or so and making the best of it."

"We're focused on the trip to Dublin and nothing else at the minute and I expect us to be very close to full strength for what will be a very tough challenge."

"Despite the effort and committment required for the coming weeks we're delighted that there are so many key matches still to come rather than having to watch the season peter out."

"We know it will be a test but we want to enjoy it and hopefully get our hands on some silverware before the season is over."