Carrick have cup final target on crucial weekend
It may be only the middle of July but this could be a season-defining weekend for Carrickfergus.
The highlight of their weekend is tomorrow's AJG Senior Cup semi-final against CIYMS at Belmont but either side of it are huge Ulster Bank League games away to Instonians and at home to North Down.
Tonight's game, like the one at Comber between North Down and leaders Waringstown, are 20-over games as it's a third and final attempt to play them.
That could close the gap for Iain Parkhill's side if professional Pat Botha and/or Jamie Holmes comes off and would give them the momentum going into tomorrow's semi-final when they will be desperate to prove that their batting performance in the abandoned first game - when they left CI needing only 69 to win - was a one-off.
Sunday's main action will be in Dublin as the three surviving NCU teams head south for the quarter-finals of the Irish Senior Cup.
All three would have fancied their chances with home advantage, but away it becomes so much more difficult although CI, who visit YMCA, did win in the previous round at The Hills.
Instonians have beaten two Leinster sides to reach the last eight, but after victories over Clontarf and Pembroke at Shaw's Bridge they must now win at Phoenix without Rusty Theron who is serving a one-match ban after being reported by the umpires in the win over Pembroke.
Waringstown go to North County and the holders will be favourites to carry the NCU flag again.
There is a full programme of Premiership fixtures in the North West tomorrow but all eight teams are in action tonight as they try and complete their midweek fixtures.
It's currently a three-way tie at the top and Eglinton would appear to have the best chance of breaking free having set Brigade 162 to win in their game at Beechgrove. At the close last night, the home side were 29 for one from six overs.
They are in pole position because the other co-leaders, Coleraine and Ardmore, have to try and get in 48 overs tomorrow night at the Bleachgreen. Overnight, Ardmore were 157 for seven, with eight overs left.
In the other games, Donemana are struggling at 32 for five from 12 overs, after bowling out Strabane for 123 in the Park and Drummond are within sight of their first win of the season, on 128 for four with 13 overs left to pass visitors Bready's 200.
Fixtures: Tonight (5.30pm): Ulster Bank Premier League (20 overs): Instonians v Carrickfergus, North Down v Waringstown
Saturday (11am): Instonians v Civil Service North, Waringstown v Lisburn. Sunday: Carrickfergus v North Down
AJG Challenge Cup semi-final: CIYMS v Carrickfergus
Ulster Bank League Section One: Ballymena v Academy, Bangor v Armagh, Donaghcloney v Woodvale, Downpatrick v Muckamore, Saintfield v Lurgan. Sunday: Academy v Downpatrick.
Section Two: Dundrum v Millpark, Laurelvale v Cooke Collegians. Sunday: Cliftonville v Millpark.
Long's SuperValu Premiership (12.00): Donemana v Eglinton, Drummond v Brigade, Strabane v Coleraine
Championship: Ballyspallen v Newbuildings, Fox Lodge v Burndennett, Glendermott v Bonds Glen, Killyclooney v St Johnston.
Sunday: Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals: (12.30):North County v Waringstown, Phoenix v Instonians, YMCA v CIYMS
Sam Jeffrey quarter-finals: Burndennett v Newbuildings, Fox Lodge v Bonds Glen