No more slip-ups as Instonians plot league win
It is Instonians v Civil Service North Part Two tomorrow in the Ulster Bank Premier League and, for the second successive match, the title is up for grabs.
Instonians were caught on what captain Eugene Moleon described as a 'difficult' pitch at Stormont last Sunday when they failed by six runs to reach CSN's 120. But with home advantage this time, it will be a confident Instonians side which expects to finish the job and win the title outright for the first time since 1962.
"If you had said at the start of the season we need to beat Civil Service North at home in our final match to win the trophy, we would have snatched your hand off. The boys are looking forward to it," said Moleon.
"But don't take anything away from Civil Service North. They came at us hard and it will be no different on Saturday."
Waiting and hoping for another CSN victory are Waringstown, who would then join Instonians on 40 points if they win their home derby against Lurgan, and North Down who would be just four points behind if they win at Lisburn. That scenario would leave North Down needing to do what Instonians could not, and win at Stormont on Sunday in the final game of the season, to make it a three-way tie at the top.
It is just as exciting at the bottom where a Lurgan win would keep them up and send the losers of the game between Ballymena and last year's champions, CIYMS, down to Section One.
With the Premiership title in the North West decided and the relegation showdown between Bready and Glendermott not taking place until next Saturday, the battle to get into the top flight takes centre stage in the North West tomorrow.
As in the NCU, it is a three-way fight with Ardmore, St Johnston and Drummond locked together at the top of the championship on 18 points although Ardmore have three games to play, one more than their two rivals.
Victory today for the Bleachgreen side, at home to Drummond, will make them even firmer favourites to win the title with their game in hand, at home to Bonds Glen, to follow on Sunday.
All St Johnston can do is keep winning and hope that Drummond come out on top in tomorrow's big clash to give them the possibility of a play-off for the title, which will decide who goes into the promotion/relegation play-off against the losers of next week's Premiership game at Bready.
For once, the North West season is going to comfortably outlast the NCU's.