FOXIES FACING SURVIVAL BATTLE

It promises to be a difficult weekend for Fox Lodge who are faced with the prospect of automatic relegation if they fail to win at Coleraine.

Even a victory may not be enough if Ardmore win at Donemana, after the Bleachgreen side leap-fogged the Foxies in a dramatic encounter at the weekend.

Cebo Tshiki’s 120 looked to have won the match, especially after rain has left Ardmore with a challenging DLS target of 200 in 30 overs.

At 53 for 5, it seemed Ardmore would be falling through the trap-door, before a late fightback by the lower order and Sean Gormley in particular sealed a devastating two-wicket win for Ardmore.

Brian Allen of Fox Lodge remained philosophical after the blow, and is content to accept whatever fate the cricketing Gods throw at the club, as long as they continue to develop and grow.

“It was a great game of cricket last weekend that swung both ways and a very exciting match for the neutrals. We’ve obviously come out the wrong side of the result and it’s not looking good for us at the bottom.

“We travel to Coleraine on Saturday needing a win, but we will be without the services of our overseas professional, as Cebo returned to South Africa this week.

“He has been exceptional for us this season, but the rest of the batting has under-fired. It’s still all to play for and no better time than Saturday to rectify that.

“We manage to beat Coleraine earlier in the season when they were top of the league so we will take some confidence from that.

“No one really wants to get relegated, but if you find yourself there, it is what it is, and there’s no real panic or drama at the club.

“We feel we are still growing and building, and this is all part of the experience for what is primarily a very young side.

“The Premier League is a very tough and challenging environment for young players, so we have to manage their development and for some, that has meant getting time in the middle with the second XI away from the high pressure melting pot of top flight cricket.

“They will grow and be all the better for it.”

The team who finishes last is relegated to the Championship automatically, while the 7th place side faces a play-off battle with the team who finish runner-up in the Championship.

With both leagues due to conclude this weekend, the play-off will likely take place on the first weekend of September, with the NW confirming the venue once the participants have been confirmed.