Take two for NW cricket
It's something of a 'Take Two' scenario across the North West Cricket Union this weekend as teams try again to get their 2019 campaigns up and running.
Only Donemana and Glendermott have enjoyed any action so far, however there is certainly a much busier schedule planned for the days ahead.
On the international front, Ireland take on England at Malahide on Friday in an historic one-day international. There's a full programme of Premiership cricket on Saturday, and this is rounded off by the Sam McConnell T20 Charity Day which will be held at the Rectory on Sunday.
It is to the league action that we turn for our preview however and the leaders will look to build on their good start when they entertain Coleraine at the Holm.
It was to prove a difficult winter for the Bannsiders having found out that they will be without both Tim and Rishi Chopra for the summer ahead. On top of that they could only watch on as their opening batsman Marcus Poskitt joined champions Bready for the forthcoming season.
Former captain, Scott Campbell, has work commitments which could rule him out of large chunks of the summer as well and therefore new skipper Stephen Hutchinson will be keen to rally his troops ahead of such a difficult task.
Coleraine do of course have the services of Graham Hume for another year and much of their hope will rest with the talented South African.
Andrew Riddles has no such worries of course and his side will be looking to make it two from two as they attempt to put an unlikely trophy-less 2018 season behind them.
Despite it only being their first outing, the former champions looked quite impressive against Glendermott and they could easily be a threat to all this season.
The only drawback for the home side is that Andy McBrine is in the Ireland squad to play England and therefore will miss out on the game. Not that Riddles would begrudge the Tyrone all-rounder the chance to pit his skills against one of the top ODI sides in the world ofcourse.
Even allowing for McBrine's absence Donemana look to have far too much fire-power on this occasion.
There's a Waterside 'derby' at the Rectory- the first in the league for five years, and if the visitors are to be serious about a title challenge this year, this is one they have to win.
Andy Britton's team have recruited well, and with Ross Allen and Rachit Gaur now added to their panel they will be expected to hit the ground running.
The visitors struggled to keep on top of things last weekend, although in fairness that was a difficult start. The problem is however that this looks no easier.
Home advantage could certainly make things interesting but on paper Brigade look red-hot favourites.
Champions Bready will now get their season off to a start with a game against neighbouring Strabane.
Both of these sides will be down one or two key players, and much will depend on how they cope with those losses. Bready's attack will be minus Craig Young and Ryan Barr, however this was an area in which they were particularly strong in 2018.
Gregory McFaul seems to have come on leaps and bounds for his involvement with the Warriors while Reece Kelly is also expected to feature prominently in 2019.
Skipper David Scanlon remains the ace in the pack, certainly in red ball cricket, and all things considered this is a tough start for the Red Caps.
Strabane's batting was very in and out last time around, and the absence of Gaur does little to boost them. If they are to be competitive, the Gillespies, Peter and Aaron, need to score heavily and the same applies to Chathura Peiris and Ryan Gallagher in the middle order.
It will be a tough ask for Brady to retain their title but they will be disappointed if they can't start with a win on Saturday.
Elsewhere, Ballyspallen begin at home to Eglinton in a game that could have a major bearing on standings at the end of the season.
The home side will be delighted that Stuart Thompson will be on international duty as well, however they will very much still need to be at their best against an Eglinton side captained by their own former skipper, Lee Ritchie.
Eglinton of course lost Ross Allen in the close season, but they will be hopeful to have enough about them to stay competitive in this division. If that is to happen, then overseas professional Mike Erlank shoulders much of the burden.
From their perspective, 'Spallen will look to many of the same faces as last season for the runs and wickets. They have quite a bit of quality in the side to be fair, but will need the big game players to step up in this league.
Graham Kennedy is one such player and while the left-hander is still only 19-years old, many will be hoping to see him take this step up in his stride.
Adam McDaid has some decent options around him at the Roe Valley club and in an intriguing game, they could well take advantage of Thompson's absence.
Finally, Sunday's Charity Day gets under way at 12 noon at Glendermott and admission is £5 (£3 concessionary). As always, proceeds will go directly to the Derry Midweek League charity fund.
This weekend's fixtures-
Ireland v England at Malahide
Ballyspallen v Eglinton
Bready v Strabane
Donemana v Coleraine
Glendermott v Brigade
Sam McConnell Charity T20 finals
(At the Rectory)
Ballyspallen v Newbuildings (12 noon)
Bready v Brigade (4pm)