Strabane staring into the abyss
STRABANE STARING INTO THE ABYSS
Strabane go into their final scheduled league game of the season bottom of the league and needing a win if they are to avoid relegation.
They lost twice last weekend, going down to a heavy defeat at Donemana on Saturday before spurning a golden opportunity to clinch a valuable win against fellow relegation candidates Ballyspallen. Having bowled superbly to restrict Spallen to just 70, the Red Caps batting failed to chase down the modest target, dismissed themselves for just 69, losing by an agonising one run.
They couldn't wish for tougher opponents on Saturday than champions Brigade, although there is some hope for Strabane in that the Beechgrove side seemed to have their minds elsewhere as they were thumped by Eglinton on Saturday and relied on the villagers' loss the following day to rubber stamp their title. With home advantage and knowing it's win or die, there may be just enough in the tank for Strabane to lift themselves one final time.
Coleraine in seventh take on Eglinton and with Graham Hume and Stephen Hutchinson in prime form they will fancy their chances of beating Eglinton and ensuring their safety.
Ballyspallen and Glendermott take on each other in a game where the winners will be safe, while the losers will likely face a relegation play-off against the second placed Championship side -either Burndennett or Ardmore.
There's certainly plenty left to play for, and it promises to be quite an occasion.
BURNDENNETT STILL HOPEFUL
It's been a great season in the Championship for Burndennett and they go into the weekend with at least a play-off slot more or less guaranteed.
They are in action twice, taking on third-placed Fox Lodge before travelling to Newbuildings in their rearranged fixture.
If they win both, and Ardmore slip up in one of their two remaining matches against Killyclooney and Fox Lodge, then Burndennett will be in the Premiership for the first time. If it is to be a play-off challenge, then the Tyrone side will certainly fancy their chances given the form of Salman Ahmed and the confidence the rest of the side have shown in only losing one game all season.
MIXED FORTUNES IN THE CUPS FOR FOX LODGE
Fox Lodge Ladies and their Men's Second XI's were in cup action over the weekend with mixed results. They retained the Ladies Cup with an emphatic 8-wicket win against Killyclooney in front of a large crowd at Burndennett.
Sarah Black turned in a Player-of-the-Match display as she first took four wickets to restrict Killyclooney to 82 for 6 in their 20 overs. Charlene Dougherty top-scoring with 30 for Killyclooney, while Kara Bates (2-20) was the other successful bowler for the Foxies.
Black then made an unbeaten 47 as she and Hannah McLaughlin (16*) shared an unbroken third wicket stand of 62 as Fox Lodge won with four overs to spare.
NW President Connie McAllister presented the trophy and paid tribute to both teams for their efforts and also thanked Burndennett for hosting, the match officials and the large gathering which helped create such a special atmosphere.
In the Ulster Plate final at Ardmore, Neal Stewart took a five wicket haul as Eglinton proved too strong for Fox Lodge.
The Foxies had no answer to the medium pacer who had the excellent analysis of 5 for 13 as the Ballymagorry side were bundled out for 66 - Luke Hayes top scoring with just 11.
Lee Ritchie and Jack Martin claimed two wickets apiece with Scott Adair taking the other.
Eglinton had little trouble chasing down the modest target as Karl O'Doherty made an undefeated 30 to guide them to the six wicket win.
BREADY BEATEN IN QUALIFYING THREE FINAL
Bready Fourths were also in cup final action as they took on favourites North Fermanagh at Drummond.
Norman Allen top scored with 35 in their total of 118 for 9, with Andrew Fleming making 21.
In reply, the Kesh men had little trouble scoring the required runs, losing only the one wicket as Joubert Pienaar made 59 not out and Ian Wilson 30.
BONDS GLEN BEAT ST JOHNSTON IN UNDER 11 FINAL
Bonds Glen are the NW U11 champions after they beat St Johnston in front of a large crowd at The Rectory.
In a 15-over game St Johnston batted first and made 52 for 8 in their 15 overs.
Bonds Glen lost two wickets early but skipper Samuel McElhatton hit five fours in an unbeaten 30 to secure the eight-wicket win. McElhatton received both the Man-of-the-Match award and the trophy from NW President Connie McAllister. Bonds Glen will now go forward and represent the NW in the All-Ireland U11 tournament starting with an away semi-final at Instonians.
Bready v Donemana
Strabane v Brigade
Ballyspallen v Glendermott
Eglinton v Coleraine
Donemana v Brigade (Sun)
Ardmore v Killyclooney
Fox Lodge v Burndennett
Bonds Glen v Newbuildings
Newbuildings v Burndennett (Sun)
Donemana II v Bready II
Brigade II v The Nedd
Fox Lodge II v Donemana II (Sun)
Bready III v Sion Mills
Glendermott II v Maghera
Newbuildings II v Strabane II
Coleraine II v St Johnston II
Coleraine II v Killyclooney II (Sun)
Killyclooney III v Bready IV
Bready IV v Fox Lodge III (Sun)
MIDWEEK CUP FINAL
St Johnston v Grove Hill at Donemana (Fri 5pm)