North Down target double to keep heat on Waringstown
North Down can lay down the marker for those who aim to win the Gardiner Bros Premier League this weekend with back to back victories. Defending champions Instonians and title rivals CIYMS are their opponents and skipper Marty Moreland accepts they will have to win both games to keep the pressure on Waringstown.
"Instonians are capable of beating any team on their day, as they proved last year, and CIYMS is always a tough game so we will have to be at our best in both games," said Moreland, who is delighted to be in title contention in the middle of August after the struggles of last season when they finished second bottom.
"Our target was top half because last year was not as bad as it looked. We lost three or four tight games and the difference this year is that we have won those games, Lisburn being the classic example a couple of weeks ago. But we have still three huge games to play."
Instonians find themselves in North Down's position last year, and they will be looking to win at least one of their two games this weekend to, hopefully, ease any relegation fears; they are away to Civil Service North on Sunday.
Basement side Lisburn have a tough game at CIYMS tomorrow and, back at the top, Waringstown are at home to Carrickfergus before they host All-Ireland T20 finals day on Sunday.
In the North West, it could be all over bar the shouting if Long's SuperValu League leaders Donemana beat Fox Lodge tomorrow.
Depending on the result of the game between second placed Coleraine and third placed Brigade at Beechgrove, a Donemana win will give them a lead of at least 15 points over the Bannsiders, who would have just one game to play, and 36 points over Brigade with two games remaining.
There is no reason why Donemana should slip up at third bottom Fox Lodge, having won 10 of their first 11 league games - they tied the other - and even the other two members of the so-called Big Three accept they are playing for second place.
At the other end of the table, Drummond will be relegated if they fail to beat Ardmore, the team immediately above them.
Fixtures ,Tomorrow (12.00 noon) Gardiner Bros Premier League: CIYMS v Lisburn, Civil Service North v Muckamore, Instonians v North Down, Waringstown v Carrickfergus. Sunday: CIYMS v North Down, Civil Service North v Instonians
Section One: Academy v Derriaghy, Armagh v Donaghcloney Mill, Downpatrick v Woodvale, Holywood v Bangor, Lurgan v Cliftonville
Section Two: BISC v Larne, Cregagh v Cooke Collegians, Donaghadee v Saintfield, Dundrum v Ballymena, Templepatrick v Laurelvale. Sunday: Cregagh v Saintfield
Section Three: Drumaness v Newforge, Dunmurry v Ards, Monaghan v Dungannon
Long's SuperValu Premiership (1.00): Bready v Eglinton, Brigade v Coleraine, Drummond v Ardmore, Fox Lodge v Donemana
Championship: Burndennett v Killyclooney, Strabane v Glendermott. Sunday: Strabane v Bonds Glen, St Johnston v Burndennett.
Sunday, All-Ireland T20 Cup semi-finals: Cork County v Clontarf (Wallace Park, 11am), Waringstown v Bready (The Lawn, 11.30). Final (The Lawn, 4pm)