Action on three fronts in NW
The weather has played havoc with the recent domestic cricket schedule, meaning yet another busy weekend ahead for many of the local clubs.
There's action across three fronts over the next couple of days; Saturday's Premiership matches followed on Sunday by Donemana's washed-out senior cup quarter-final against Brigade, and two ties for local teams in the All-Ireland competition as well.
League leaders Brigade go to Eglinton on Saturday looking to extend their advantage at the top of the table. The villagers have struggled a touch of late, nowhere more so than in their heavy defeat to previously win-less Glendermott last weekend.
Eglinton's batting has failed to fire, and it has been left to Mike Erlank to try to hold things together in recent weeks. Stuart Thompson's return to the side certainly helps, but they will have to improve considerably on last week's effort if they are to keep Brigade at bay in this one.
Andy Britton's team posted that huge win against Donemana last time out, and it is difficult to see them losing their advantage in the title race now. Brigade have that look about them at the minute and as well as their position in the table, they know that the winners of their cup tie will be huge favourites to go on and lift the trophy.
The Holm outfit warm up for that vital cup replay on Sunday when they visit neighbours Strabane in the league the day before. The Red Caps are another side who have found the going tough so far, and they too have struggled to find runs.
Chathura Peiris has certainly done his part to keep their board ticking over, however if they are to climb the table, the overseas man is going to need help from somewhere.
The visitors can't afford anymore slip- ups if they are to keep any sort of pressure on the Beechgrove boys, and like Eglinton, Strabane will need to really up the ante to take anything from here.
Bready have started to re-capture some of last season's form, but they won't find the going easy when they go to Ballyspallen on Saturday.
Adam McDaid's team definitely have a surprise in them and these are the types of games they seem to relish. On the downside for them however, it would appear that Craig Averill has made himself unavailable for the rest of the summer.
That would be a blow if it happens to be the case, however there remains plenty of quality in both their batting and bowling line-ups.
Whether they have enough about them to cope with an in-form Bready remains to be seen. David Scanlon's side may just be fancying their chances of retaining their title again but for that to happen, they certainly need to be winning matches like this.
David Rankin and Irosh Samarassoriya have been in excellent form with the bat for the champions and 'Spallen can ill-afford to let those two, nor indeed the likes of Marcus Poskitt get away if they are to have a chance.
The final league game on Saturday sees Coleraine entertain Glendermott in a game where points are certainly at a premium.
The visitors got off the mark with that big win at home to Eglinton last time out, and will be looking to build on that against a Bannsiders team that have had their own struggles with the bat.
Gordon Cooke has been excellent for Glendermott so far, and he spearheads an attack that could cause plenty of problems for the home side. We seem to say it every week, however much of Coleraine's resistance will lfall on Scott Campbell and Graham Hume. Whatever they do could well dictate what Coleraine do.
Sunday's cup action sees Bready entertain Phoenix in the All-Ireland senior competition and although any draw against a Leinster side is usually tough, home advantage will certainly give Scanlon's team some sort of chance.
Strabane obviously have the tougher task as they head south to take on Leinster although we mustn't forget that the Red Caps went all the way to the semi-finals of this competition last time around.
The North West senior cup tie between Donemana and Brigade still looks to be the the weekend's biggest game with so much at stake, particularly for the Tyrone outfit.
Having fallen behind their visitors in the league, Andrew Riddles' team will surely now see this competition as their main chance for silverware in 2019.
Weather permitting this looks likely to go the distance and is an impossible game to call at this point.