CIYMS face hardest test on way to title defence
It's a date at The Lawn tomorrow for CIYMS as the Robinson Services Premier League champions continue what appears to be a relentless surge towards a second successive title.
They may yet need to win four of their remaining five games depending on how closest pursuers North Down get on in the next couple of weekends but apart from the visit to Comber for a 20-over Match 2 on Sunday week, tomorrow's game against Waringstown would appear to be their toughest.
Waringstown captain Greg Thompson insisted last week, after the disappointment of the Irish Cup final defeat to Pembroke, that he was keen to finish the league season on a high, but whether it will be good enough to stop a confident and commanding CI side, which has already won at The Lawn in the NCU T20 final, must be doubtful.
The battle to stay in the Premier League is set to go to the wire with just four points between Muckamore (on eight points with four games to play), Instonians (eight and six) and Lisburn (12 and three) with the latter two meeting in a 20-over game at Moylena on Sunday.
In the Long's SuperValu Premiership, with Brigade's first title in eight years already confirmed, focus turns to the battle to beat the drop.
Just 16 points separate the bottom four teams with Strabane in the must-win category. Unfortunately for the Red Caps, their last game tomorrow is against the champions, although the three teams directly above them will be hoping Brigade finish with a flourish rather than a whimper, with nothing to play for!
If Brigade lose for only the second time then the losers of the big game of the day between Ballyspallen and Glendermott are the team in immediate risk.
The best they can hope for is a close match and that Coleraine suffer two big losses. The Bannsiders are seventh, two behind Glendermott and three shy of Ballyspallen, and after tomorrow's game at Eglinton have a match in hand at home to Bready.
FIXTURES - tomorrow (12.00): Carrickfergus v Muckamore (11.00), Civil Service North v Instonians (11.00), North Down v Lisburn (11.30), Waringstown v CIYMS. Sunday: Instonians v North Down (11.00), Muckamore v Lisburn (Match 2, 11.30)
Section One: Cregagh v Woodvale, Derriaghy v Armagh, Donaghcloney Mill v Downpatrick, Templepatrick v Holywood. Sunday: Woodvale v Cregagh (11.30), Downpatrick v Holywood (M2 , 12.00)
Section Two: Cliftonville Academy v Laurelvale, Saintfield v Belfast Superkings. Sunday: Cooke Collegians v Belfast Superkings (11.00, M2), Saintfield v Monaghan (M2, 2.00)
Section Three: Ards v Larne. Sunday: Donaghadee v Dundrum (M2, 12.00), Dunmurry v Drumaness (M2, 12.00).
Long's SuperValu Premiership: Ballyspallen v Glendermott, Bready v Donemana, Eglinton v Coleraine (11.00), Strabane v Brigade. Sunday: Donemana v Brigade.
Championship: Ardmore v Killyclooney, Bonds Glen v Newbuildings, Fox Lodge v Burndennett. Sunday: Newbuildings v Burndennett.
SUNDAY - Irish National Cup Final: Ardmore v Railway Union (Balrothery, 12.30)