North West’s title race building towards thrilling climax
There can rarely have been so many permutations going into the final scheduled weekend of the North West season with the Premiership title up for grabs.
The simplest is that if Coleraine win both games and Donemana fail to win both their games then the Bannsiders will retain the title on Sunday night.
But if Eglinton win the game between the joint leaders tomorrow and follow up with victory over Donemana on Sunday they will still be relying on Brigade losing to Coleraine to claim the title because the Beechgrove side still have to play Donemana next Saturday. If they win that then Brigade will join Eglinton on 18 points and will win the title because of their 1-0 head-to-head record, the other game having been a 'no result'.
If Donemana win all four games - the last against Ardmore on Saturday fortnight - they can still pip Coleraine on run-rate as their head-to-head - the first criteria for separating sides level on points - is 1-1.
Donemana's prospects of a first league title in four years, though, would have been even more realistic if they had not lost to Drummond - their opponents tomorrow - in midweek by 147 runs!
Neil Stewart scored 85 in Drummond's 331 for nine, from just 40 overs, and despite Thomas Riddles scoring 87 on the second night he was dismissed second ball on Wednesday as Donemana lost their last five wickets for 50 runs.
It's all decided in the Ulster Bank Premier League before tomorrow's final round of games, with Instonians the champions following their midweek victory over Waringstown, while Muckamore will replace Derriaghy if they beat Academy and Woodvale lose either game.
Saturday's fixures: Ulster Bank Premier League (11.00): Carrick v Civil Service North, Instonians v Derriaghy, Lisburn v North Down, Waringstown v CIYMS.
Sunday: Waringstown v CIYMS
Section One: Today: Ballymena v Lurgan. Tomorrow: Armagh v Downpatrick, Ballymena v Donaghcloney, Lurgan v Woodvale, Muckamore v Academy, Saintfield v Bangor.
Sunday: Downpatrick v Woodvale
Section Two: Cliftonville v Holywood, Cregagh v Cooke Collegians, Laurelvale v Dundrum, Millpark v BISC.
Sunday: Millpark v BISC (T20), Dundrum v Cregagh
Long's SuperValu Premiership (12.00): Brigade v Bready, Drummond v Donemana, Eglinton v Coleraine, Strabane v Ardmore.
Sunday: Brigade v Coleraine, Donemana v Eglinton
Championship: Bonds Glen v St Johnston, Burndennett v Newbuildings, Glendermott v Fox Lodge, Killyclooney v Ballyspallen.
Sunday: Burndennett v St Johnston, Fox Lodge v Newbuildings