Ahead of a weekend when half a dozen clubs should be looking forward to their fourth Premier League match of the season, it is a familiar, damp story in the Northern Cricket Union.
Only five of the scheduled 13 games were completed on the first two weekends and any more rain today will put more of tomorrow’s games in jeopardy.
Carrickfergus have yet to get onto the field in the league. They managed it in Dublin last week but their lack of cricket was cruelly exposed by Clontarf, the Leinster league champions, who swept to a convincing victory in the Irish Cup. They are due to play Waringstown tomorrow and CIYMS on Sunday but already the clash with North Down, three weeks down the line, looks the best prospect for a match to be played on schedule at Middle Road.
By then, North Down professional Iain Robertson should be settled in with the Comber club. He finally left New Zealand on Wednesday and was due to complete his marathon journey last night ready for a debut against Instonians at The Green tomorrow.
The Shaw’s Bridge club must return to North Down on Sunday to play their postponed opening day fixture against Bangor. Instonians had put in a claim for the four win points after an umpire ruled the Upritchard Park pitch was playable, less than three hours after Bangor captain Mark Hutchinson had rung his opposite number Eugene Moleon to say the match was off. However, the management committee of the NCU threw out the appeal and ordered the game to replayed.
Instonians are one of four teams who hope to build on their opening game success — only North Down have played more then one league match — with Waringstown, Civil Service North and Lisburn the others.
CSN make the short trip to Belmont to meet CIYMS and Lisburn, first-day conquerors of North Down but unable to get back on the field since, will try again at home to Ballymena.
All the Section One clubs also face a double header weekend with a full league programme tomorrow followed by the rearranged TCH Challenge Cup ties on Sunday, the new day for games postponed on the original Saturday. If it is too wet for a match on Sunday, bowl-outs will decide who goes through to the second round games next Saturday.
Already Lurgan have given up hope of hosting Cooke Collegians and will play at Shaw’s Bridge. The winners will be back there next week, away to Instonians.
Fixtures (1.00pm): Tomorrow: Ulster Bank Premier League: Bangor v Woodvale, Carrickfergus v Waringstown, CIYMS v Civil Service North, Lisburn v Ballymena, North Down v Instonians.
Section One: Cliftonville v Downpatrick, Derriaghy v Laurelvale, Dunmurry v Holywood, Lurgan v Cooke Collegians, Muckamore v Dundrum.
Section Two: Cregagh v Donacloney, Saintfield v Armagh.
Sunday: Premier League: Bangor v Instonians, Carrickfergus v CIYMS, Woodvale v Civil Service North (at Stormont)
TCH Challenge Cup first round: Derriaghy v Downpatrick, Saintfield v Cliftonville, Laurelvale v Holywood, Muckamore v Armagh, Dundrum v Dunmurry, Lurgan v Cooke Collegians (at Shaw’s Bridge).