Premier League heading for exciting finale
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
THE Robinson Services Premier League is set to career towards a finale this weekend with eight matches being played and the title and relegation still to be decided.
First into action this evening are CIYMS and Lisburn, the champions-elect against the team in danger of heading straight back to Section One. Nothing will be decided tonight but victory will leave CIYMS just two games from retaining the league trophy and Lisburn possibly two games away from the drop.
To deal with the title first. CIYMS have arranged four of their five remaining games for this weekend, following tonight’s 20-over game with a 50-over contest against Instonians tomorrow. Win both those and they can win the league on Sunday lunchtime with victory over their nearest challengers North Down, at Comber.
CIYMS have then arranged a match for the afternoon, at Shaw’s Bridge, the return fixture against Instonians but if they lose the morning game then the celebrations will be on hold as North Down have still two more games to play next weekend.
But having won eight of their first nine games as well as the NCU and All-Ireland T20 titles, Nigel Jones’ side will be favourites to finish the season in a hurry and in style.
At the other end of the table, unless Lisburn shock CIYMS tonight, Muckamore and Instonians then have the chance to send them down this weekend. The teams meet at Moylena in a 20-over match on Sunday morning and victory for Muckamore will make them safe, if they haven’t already beaten Waringstown tomorrow. They have a third chance, if needed, on Sunday evening when they travel to Carrickfergus for their second 20-over game of the day.
Instonians’ task looks more difficult if they lose at Muckamore, either side of their double header against CIYMS, but skipper Andrew White knows he still has three more chances with 20-over games against Waringstown, Civil Service North and North Down still to rearrange.
The second relegation place in Section One will also be decided if Bangor win one of their two games, against Ballymena tomorrow or at Cregagh on Sunday. Two defeats, however, will give Downpatrick a lifeline and in that scenario if they beat Donaghcloney Mill in their final game next Saturday it would relegate the Seasiders.