The NWCU has unveiled the 2018 Senior fixture list this weekend as clubs begin their preparations for what is set to be a very busy summer.

The campaign kicks off a week early as the Union keeps the weekend of 12 May free for the Ireland v Pakistan Test and as always the front end of the programme is dominated by cup action.

There is a break of five weeks between the second and third Premier League games with cup action in the Regional T20 (group stages), Senior Cup, All-Ireland Cup and of course that Test match taking up the space in between.

Game of the day in the first round of matches could be at Bready where the home side entertains the champions of the past two seasons, Donemana.

Despite their domestic dominance the Holm side were skittled for just 38 in the corresponding fixture in 2017, so they will be keen to set the record straight on Match-day 1.

Bready always have the look of a side that threatens to do better and it would be no surprise to see them competing at the business end themselves this year.

Similar comments apply to Eglinton and Ardmore, both of whom could come into things particularly if Coleraine stick with their youth policy decision.

The Bannsiders have plenty of quality still in the ranks but it would be difficult to see them keep pace with the current champions and probably also Brigade over the course of a season with such an inexperienced team.

The north coast lads start their season at the Bleachgreen where Decker Curry looks certain to spear-head Ardmore's summer despite previous concerns that he'd had enough.

Eglinton will entertain Brigade with the visitors keen to avoid a repeat of last year's costly poor start. The Beechgrove outfit remain confident of retaining and indeed adding to last season's squad despite stories linking Johnny Thompson to Ardmore refusing to go away.

There's an early crunch clash between Fox Lodge and Strabane at Ballymagorry. Neither side has as yet announced any changes to last year's line-ups although the Red Caps will be keen to fill their overseas berth which has been vacated by the now ineligible Kevin Pretorius.

In the Championship, Glendermott should be among the pace-setters after the Rectory outfit made the shrewd move of adding brothers David and Gordon Cooke.

Ballyspallen, Killyclooney, Drummond and Newbuildings are all likely to be involved as well albeit the latter will be unable to call on Peat Salmon this year after the West Indian took his first steps in List A cricket in the last few days.

All in all it adds up to a very interesting summer ahead with plenty of wheeling and dealing still to be done between now and April.

Premiership and Championship fixtures are listed below with the Union hoping to release the remaining Qualifying league fixtures in the coming days.

NWCU Premiership Fixtures 2018:

21st April
Ardmore v Coleraine
Eglinton v Brigade
Fox Lodge v Strabane
Bready v Donemana

28th April
Brigade v Coleraine
Strabane v Ardmore
Donemana v Eglinton
Bready v Fox Lodge

2nd June
Coleraine v Strabane
Brigade v Donemana
Ardmore v Bready
Eglinton v Fox Lodge

9th June
Donemana v Coleraine
Bready v Strabane
Fox Lodge v Brigade
Ardmore v Eglinton

16th June
Coleraine v Bready
Donemana v Fox Lodge
Strabane v Eglinton
Brigade v Ardmore

23rd June
Fox Lodge v Coleraine
Eglinton v Bready
Ardmore v Donemana
Brigade v Strabane

30th June
Eglinton v Coleraine
Fox Lodge v Ardmore
Bready v Brigade
Strabane v Donemana

7th July
Coleraine v Ardmore
Brigade v Eglinton
Strabane v Fox Lodge
Donemana v Bready

14th July
Coleraine v Brigade
Ardmore v Strabane
Eglinton v Donemana
Fox Lodge v Bready

21st July
Strabane v Coleraine
Donemana v Brigade
Bready v Ardmore
Fox Lodge v Eglinton

4th August
Coleraine v Donemana
Strabane v Bready
Brigade v Fox Lodge
Eglinton v Ardmore

11th August
Ardmore v Brigade
Bready v Coleraine
Fox Lodge v Donemana
Eglinton v Strabane

12th August
Brigade v Bready

18th August
Donemana v Strabane
Ardmore v Fox Lodge
Coleraine v Eglinton

25th August
Strabane v Brigade
Donemana v Ardmore
Bready v Eglinton
Coleraine v Fox Lodge

NWCU Championship fixtures 2018:

21st April
Killyclooney v Newbuildings
Glendermott v Bonds Glen
St Johnston v Ballyspallen
Burndennett v Drummond

28th April
Bonds Glen v Killyclooney
Ballyspallen v Newbuildings
Drummond v Glendermott
Burndennett v St Johnston

5th May
Ballyspallen v Killyclooney
Bonds Glen v Drummond
Newbuildings v Burndennett
Glendermott v St Johnston

19th May
Glendermott v Ballyspallen

9th June
Drummond v Killyclooney
Burndennett v Ballyspallen
St Johnston v Bonds Glen
Glendermott v Newbuildings

16th June
Killyclooney v Burndennett
St Johnston v Drummond
Ballyspallen v Glendermott
Newbuildings v Bonds Glen

23rd June
Killyclooney v Glendermott
St Johnston v Newbuildings
Burndennett v Bonds Glen
Drummond v Ballyspallen

1st July
St Johnston v Killyclooney
Glendermott v Burndennett
Bonds Glen v Ballyspallen
Newbuildings v Drummond

7th July
Newbuildings v Killyclooney
Bonds Glen v Glendermott
Ballyspallen v St Johnston
Drummond v Burndennett

14th July
Killyclooney v Bonds Glen
Newbuildings v Ballyspallen
Glendermott v Drummond
St Johnston v Burndennett

21st July
Killyclooney v Ballyspallen
Drummond v Bonds Glen
Burndennett v Newbuildings
St Johnston v Glendermott

4th August
Bonds Glen v St Johnston
Killyclooney v Drummond
Ballyspallen v Burndennett
Newbuildings v Glendermott

11th August
Drummond v St Johnston
Burndennett v Killyclooney
Bonds Glen v Newbuildings

18th August
Killyclooney v St Johnston
Burndennett v Glendermott
Ballyspallen v Bonds Glen
Drummond v Newbuildings

25th August
Newbuildings v St Johnston
Glendermott v Killyclooney
Bonds Glen v Burndennett
Ballyspallen v Drummond