Relegation D-Day in NW Premiership
The Premiership trophy will be presented to Brigade skipper Andy Britton on Saturday afternoon after their upcoming match at Strabane Park. The Beechgrove boys were finally confirmed as league winners following Eglinton's defeat at home to Glendermott on Sunday, albeit the writing had been on the wall for several weeks now.
This game itself may not mean an awful lot to the new champions, however that is certainly not the case for the home side who made something of a mess of chasing down 70 runs at Ballyspallen on Sunday and now find themselves bottom of the table with just this game to go.
It will have been a real blow for the Park side who, having never been relegated in their history, are now staring down the barrel of a second drop in three years.
Things have been very unpredictable at both ends of the table over the last couple of weeks, and you couldn't entirely rule out a surprise home win here, however Tommy Barr's team would need to pull out something extraordinary for that to happen.
You get the feeling that the Red Caps did themselves irreparable damage at Bridge Park at the weekend and it is difficult to picture them getting the win that they need against the new champions to keep themselves in the division.
The race to avoid 7th place in the table, and an end-of-season play-off against either Burndennett or Ardmore is extremely difficult to call. Coleraine, Glendermott and Ballyspallen are separated by just 3 points heading into the final set of fixtures, and with the latter pair set to meet at on Saturday, that could well be the telling contest.
Obviously those waters will be muddied still further if Strabane do manage to pull off a very unlikely victory, but at present it is Coleraine who are favourites to escape the bottom two. They also looked to have an impossible task just two weeks ago before recording thumping victories over Bready and Eglinton that have ultimately saved their season.
The efforts of Graham Hume in particular have proved crucial to Coleraine, and a handful of bonus points at Eglinton this weekend will be enough to see them safe. The South African has been an outstanding asset over the last couple of summers and he has absolutely been the difference between Premiership and Championship cricket in 2020 for his side.
Eglinton were all kinds of everything last weekend and after having posted a stunning victory at Beechgrove on Saturday, they struggled manfully to put out any kind of competitive team against Glendermott the following day. That opened the door for Gordon Montgomery's side to move off the foot of the table themselves; an opportunity they grasped with both hands.
It has been a fantastic season for the villagers, there is no doubt about that, with the Glendermott defeat their first in eight league games. They will of course still want to finish with a flourish to stay in second place in the table, but it's probably fair to say it depends an awful lot on the personnel available to them.
That 'Spallen v Glendermott game looks to be the pivotal one this weekend as the regular season reaches its conclusion. Both the home team and Strabane found conditions extremely difficult on Sunday with the teams scoring just 70 and 69 respectively, and it's quite possible that whoever copes best with conditions will save themselves from that play-off.
In truth there isn't much between the teams in terms of quality. Glendermott have seemed a little distracted since just before their date with destiny in the senior cup final against Brigade. That win at Eglinton was huge for Montgomery's team but it would be no surprise to see them build on that this time around.
They boast loads of experience in the team and you suspect that Adam McDaid's team won't get away with being as bad with the bat this weekend.
That said, Ballyspallen have been here several times before and are well equipped for whatever the end of season might bring. They do seem to be down a player or two at present but will be buoyed by the fact they got out of jail against the Red Caps.
It could go either way this one, and the respective overseas men- Brendon Louw and Keshan Wijerathne have big roles to play.
The day's final game has third place in the table at stake as Donemana take on outgoing champions Bready.
The Magheramason side have also been in and out this season, particularly in the latter stages, and will hope to be as close to full strength as possible for the visit of the Holm side.
It has been a modest enough defence of their title in truth but a top three finish would at least add some degree of achievement to their campaign.
Donemana did at least manage to pick up silverware as they won the Faughan Valley Cup this year, however they were out of luck in the All-Ireland T20 last weekend when they were well beaten by CIYMS.
The multi-cup and league winners haven't really fired this season either- that T20 run apart- and there is work to do over the next season or two if they are to get their crown back. Of course if anyone is capable of that it is Donemana and they will look to finish with a flourish.
Personnel will certainly be key here, but with not much at stake the games often have a tendency to be low-key. Andrew Riddles' team still have an outstanding league game against Brigade to come after this before the curtain falls on their season but a win here will secure that top-three place.
It has been a long and often rain-affected season for the region's cricketers and everyone will be hoping for one last hurrah from the weather Gods as the summer draws to a close.
Saturday's Premiership fixtures
Strabane v Brigade
Bready v Donemana
Eglinton v Coleraine
Ballyspallen v Glendermott