It’s a double-header weekend for North West clubs with the semi-finals of the three T20 Cup competitions tonight followed by a full programme in the Long’s SuperValu 40-over League.
Donemana, who won the Senior Cup last year when it was a T20 competition, are handicapped by the loss of captains Andy McBrine and William McClintock, who are both in the Cricket Ireland bubble ahead of the upcoming series against South Africa, so Jordan McGonigle will lead the side tonight at Eglinton and tomorrow against Ballyspallen.
Brigade have back-to-back home games against Bready, for a place in the Faughan Valley Cup final, and tomorrow can move up to second place, at least, in Group A of the 40-over League. Indeed, a big victory and a Bready loss at Strabane could see the defending Premiership champions go top.
Brigade skipper Andy Britton said: “It was disappointing to lose our first game against Bready but the lads have come back well and we’ve strung together three wins so there is plenty of confidence going into two big games.
“We have lost three bowling all-rounders since we won the league in 2019 but Ryan Barr and Simon Olphert have come in and we’re playing as a team. Everybody has their own role and it’s actually made it a bit easier for me as I don’t have to make as many decisions. I’d almost too much of a choice when all the batters could bowl!”
In the NCU, the game of the day is at Stormont where Civil Service North will hope to return to winning ways against Carrickfergus, one of the three co-leaders. The other two are North Down and Waringstown, although the Villagers have an advantage over their rivals, able to field a full-strength side for the next three weekends with no players in the Ireland squads.
In contrast, North Down and defending champions CIYMS will be two internationals short, while CSN and Carrickfergus will be without Ben White and Graeme McCarter respectively.
FIXTURES – Tonight (6.30pm) Faughan Valley Cup semi-finals: Brigade v Bready, Eglinton v Donemana
Eric Cooke Cup semi-finals: Ardmore v Fox Lodge, Newbuildings v Strabane
Sperrin Springs Cup semi-finals: Killyclooney v Glendermott, St Johnston v Glendermott
Tomorrow (12pm) – Robinson Services Premier League: Civil Service North v Carrickfergus (11am), Instonians v CIYMS, Lisburn v Waringstown, North Down v Woodvale (11am).
Section One: Bangor v Armagh (11am), Cliftonville Academy v Saintfield, Derriaghy v Ballymena, Muckamore v Donaghcloney Mill, Templepatrick v Cregagh. Sunday: Armagh v Templepatrick (1pm)
Section Two: Cooke Collegians v BISC, Holywood v Lurgan, Laurelvale v Dundrum
Section Three: Donaghadee v Ards, Drumaness Superkings v Dunmurry, Larne v Victoria.
Long’s SuperValu 40-over League: Group A: Brigade v Ardmore, Fox Lodge v Glendermott, St Johnston v Bonds Glen, Strabane v Bready. Group B: Donemana v Ballyspallen, Eglinton v Coleraine, Newbuildings v Burndennett.