Crucial weekend in NW looms
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
THE automatic relegation spot in the NW Premiership will not be decided until Sunday after the North West confirmed the rearrangement dates for last Saturday’s games, all wiped out by the rain.
Strabane, currently propping up the table, cannot play their final game, against Brigade, until Sunday because their 2nd XI have a home game on Saturday and it is the same scenario which postpones the crucial game between two of the bottom four between Ballyspallen and Glendermott.
The other team in danger of relegation is Coleraine and they be first into action this weekend, with their game at Eglinton going ahead on Saturday. If they lose and pick up less than two points, then they are certain to face at least a relegation play-off against the Championship runners-up – and will be automatically relegated if Strabane beat the champions the following day.
However, victory for the Bannsiders, or a narrow defeat, will leave the losers of the game at Ballyspallen forced to pick up points to avoid a bottom two place finish – and even automatic relegation if the Red Caps wins.
If teams finish level on points, net run rate will decide the final places and Coleraine currently have the best of the bottom four and Glendermott comfortably the worst. Heading into the last round of games the points are Ballyspallen 109, Glendermott 108, Coleraine 106 and Strabane 93.
Fox Lodge will have a major say in who is promoted to the top flight as champions as their last two games are against the top two.
First up, on Saturday, they will travel to Ardmore, who while losing in the final of the National Cup on Sunday, also lost the league leadership to Burndennett, the Foxes opponents on Sunday.
But Burndennett’s lead, despite a 10 wickets victory over Newbuildings last Sunday, is only 17 points so if Ardmore win both their final two games – they are at home to Killyclooney on Sunday - they will still win automatic promotion and send Burndennett, with only one match left, into the promotion/relegation play-off game against the seventh place team in the Premiership.
Saturday: Premiership: Bready v Donemana, Eglinton v Coleraine. Chamionship: Ardmore v Fox Lodge, Bonds Glen v Newbulldings.
Sunday: Premiership: Ballyspallen v Glendermott, Strabane v Brigade. Championship: Ardmore v Killyclooney, Fox Lodge v Burndennett.