Busy weekend ahead in NW
Saturday night's Champions League final in Madrid has already had a bearing on the fixtures in this weekend's Premier Division. The regular 1pm start times have been abandoned in favour of earlier slots with the game between Coleraine and Strabane now scheduled to start as early as 10:30 a.m.
It actually has the makings of a decent contest this one, with both sides keen to build on their solitary league win to date.
Coleraine's batting has looked vulnerable several times already this season, and the Bannsiders will again look to Scott Campbell and Graham Hume to provide the platform that they need. Whether or not they can find enough runs in the middle and lower order to support those two however, remains to be seen.
Strabane themselves only got over the line by a single run in their sole victory to date, and Peter Gillespie will be hoping that one or two of his injured players will be available to make the trip.
The Red Caps probably have a bit more experience in their line-up but they can ill-afford to let the Coleraine batsmen get away if they are to secure the win.
It's a difficult game to call however much could depend on the availability of the hosts' key players.
Unbeaten Donemana put their record on the line when they go to Eglinton for a 12 noon start. Stevie Dunn has confirmed that he will take his place in the home team's line-up following the death last weekend of his father, and lifelong Donemana member, Alan Dunn.
The league leaders certainly have the quality to win here but as skipper Andrew Riddles pointed out recently, these are exactly the type of games that cost them their title chance last season.
There should be no personnel concerns for the Holm side, although it is unclear as to whether Andy McBrine will be available having just finished the Warriors three-day Interprovincial game against the Northern Knights.
The villagers will again be without their talisman Stuart Thompson through injury, and that forces more pressure on the shoulders of Mike Erlank who needs to be on his game.
If Donemana turn up, it is difficult to see anything other than an away win however the home side will feel that this is their chance to make a statement.
Current North West champions Bready will look to build on their excellent Irish Senior Cup win against Lisburn last weekend when they entertain Glendermott. The Magheramason side's batting held up really well on Saturday, and if they are to force a defence of their title then they really need to be winning games like this.
Irosh Samarasooriya continues to show his class in Bready colours, while David Rankin has come into the type of form of which we know he is capable.
Andrew Austin could well miss the game through injury meaning Marcus Poskitt will take the gloves. The former Coleraine opener has been in excellent form since arriving at his new club and there is now a decent look to Bready's top order.
Connor Olphert and Gregory McFaul have also stepped up to the plate following the loss of Craig Young and there is once again a decent balance to the champions' line-up.
Glendermott however will be no back number, and they will feel they are due a change of luck following very narrow losses in each of the last two weekends.
David and Gordon Cooke have helped strengthen both the batting and bowling departments at the Rectory while skipper Gordon Montgomery is playing as well as ever in the opening slot.
Jason Lynch and Alan Johnson are other players very capable of taking a hand in the outcome, however on all known form Bready go into the game as very warm favourites.
In the day's final contest, unbeaten Brigade entertain Ballyspallen at Beechgrove. Andy Britton's side have, as expected, kept tabs with leaders Donemana so far and the outcome of this season's title race could come down to those crucial matches against each other.
Skipper Britton won't be concerning himself about that until the time comes however, and the focus will be solely on the points at stake against the Roe Valley outfit.
The home side's all-round firepower looks likely to be too much for 'Spallen, although the visitors do also have players in their team that could easily turn the game.
Adam McDaid looks to be rejuvenated following his time in the NCU last summer and he, along with Brendon Louw, the Averill brothers and the Kennedy boys will see to it that Brigade don't get everything their own way.
Anything other than a home win would be something of a surprise on a weekend when the top two look likely to cement their places at the top of the table.
Following the recent postponements there will be several more games on Sunday including three involving top-flight sides.
In the Premier Division, Coleraine and Brigade were both knocked out of the Irish senior Cup at the weekend and will play their rearranged league game from the previous week.
Donemana and Eglinton will play their respective Irish Senior Cup first round ties- the former travelling to Comber to take on North Down while the villagers head to Dublin for a date with Phoenix.
With only Bready and Strabane having made it to the second round so far, local supporters will be hoping that another two can join them on Sunday evening.
T20 Premiership (Fri 6:30pm)
Eglinton v Coleraine
Ballyspallen v Donemana
Strabane v Glendermott
Bready v Brigade
Ardmore v Bonds Glen
Irish Senior Cup
North Down v Donemana (Sun 12:30pm)
Phoenix v Eglinton (Sun 12:30pm)
NW Premiership (Sat 1pm)
Bready v Glendermott
Coleraine v Strabane (10:30am)
Eglinton v Donemana (12pm)
Brigade v Ballyspallen
Coleraine v Brigade (Sun)
Newbuildings v Killyclooney
Fox Lodge v St Johnston
Bonds Glen v Burndennett
Ardmore v Bonds Glen(Sun)
Burndennett v St Johnston (Sun)
Donemana II v Eglinton II
The Nedd v Bonds Glen II
Bready II v Fox Lodge II
Ardmore II v Brigade II
Fox Lodge II v Eglinton II (Sun)
Ballyspallen II v Strabane II
St Johnston II v Coleraine II
Sion Mills v Bready III
Glendermott II v Sion Mills (Sun)
Donemana III v Eglinton III
Killyclooney III v Ardmore III
North Fermanagh v NW Women's XI
Bready IV v Ardmore III (Sun)
NW Women's League (Mon 6:30pm)
Eglinton v Bready
Killyclooney v Strabane
Fox Lodge v Newbuildings