Johnny Morton (News Letter)
Lisburn are on the verge of bouncing right back into the Premier League after being relegated from the top flight in 2017, and know a win against Donacloney Mill will be enough to seal their return.
They currently sit top of the league by four points from Holywood, but with having an inferior run-rate to their nearest rivals, Lisburn know only a win will do if they want to keep their destiny in their own hands.
It has all come down to the last weekend, and captain Adam Berry says occasions like Saturday excite the whole squad.
“It’s an exciting weekend,” he said. “These are the kind of games everyone wants to play in, so the whole squad is looking forward to it.”
It hasn’t always been easy for teams in the past to immediately rebuild and put themselves in a position to seal promotion the following year. Berry feels that the whole squad have delivered in 2018 and everyone has given their maximum effort to the cause.
“I couldn’t have asked for any more from the players.
“Especially after last year, everyone has bounced back well and we have all loved it. “Everyone has enjoyed playing against these different teams and every game has been competitive. It has been a good atmosphere post-game too with the opposition.
“I couldn’t say better things about Section One.”
When you get into tight situations like the one Lisburn are in, you always think of the losses you suffered that, if you could have won them, would have made life so much easier. They have only lost three league games all season, but two stand out in Berry’s memory that his side could have performed better in.
“I’ve got to say the game at Holywood a couple of weeks ago.
“We won the toss and had the two Adair’s out, so that is definitely a game you look back on and think if we could have got a couple more wickets in the middle, then it could have been a different day.
“It was definitely our poorest performance with the bat all season too. When you are 80 all out, you are never going to be competing.
“We also lost to Downpatrick in a Sunday game early in the season, and I think that was a hangover from the Saturday when we lost to Derriaghy. That was just a bad weekend for us.”
Donacloney Mill will be no pushovers, especially considering they need a win to definitely preserve their status in the league - currently sitting above the relegation zone on run-rate.
Berry is aware of just how difficult the opposition will be, but says if things are to go Lisburn’s way on Saturday, the group will be more prepared for the challenges of the Premier League next season than they were 12 months ago.
“Everyone is a year more mature and have had another good season of cricket. “It’s been a great opportunity for players to hone their skills. Batsmen have got to bat for longer periods of time.”