Shannon returns to give Inst a real lift
James Shannon returns to the Instonians side this weekend for the big Robinson Services Premier League game against CIYMS at Belmont.
And there is light at the end of the tunnel for the Shaw's Bridge side who have had a nightmare start to the season with injuries, with Robert McKinley set to play his first game of the campaign, leaving only Test squad member Nathan Smith as a long-term absentee.
Nikolai Smith, despite sitting out yesterday's inter-provincial, is also expected to play against CI.
Shannon missed both Instonians games last weekend with back spasms and handed over the captaincy of Northern Knights to club-mate Shane Getkate while he regained full fitness, but after playing a full part in this week's inter-provincial he has suffered no reaction and will resume club cricket.
Despite their injury woes, Instonians have won two of their first three league games - and share the leadership with defending champions Waringstown - but they are the only two teams to have played more than two matches.
CIYMS are one of five teams just one win behind the top two, so a win for any of those sides will keep them firmly in the mix at this early stage of the season.
Civil Service North, however, are more anxious than most to record a win as they are the only team to have lost their first two games, and will have to repeat their successful T20 chase when they return to The Lawn to face Waringstown.
The biggest game of the day, however, will be at Beechgrove where the North West's big two, Brigade and Donemana, clash in their first league encounter.
There will be added spice to the occasion as the aftermath of the last meeting between the teams, at the end of last season, resulted in three Donemana players being suspended - including Andrew Riddles for six matches - and, much to the champions' disgust, all Brigade players got off scot free.
It is already virtually a must-win game for Donemana as they are rock bottom of the table with just four points - 41 behind Brigade - while Bready have the chance to extend their lead with victory at Ardmore.
FIXTURES, Tonight (6.15pm): Armagh v Civil Service North, Instonians v Waringstown, CIYMS v Carrickfergus (at Carrick), North Down v Muckamore.
Ulster Bank Schools' Cup semi-final (4pm): Methody v BRA (Pirrie Park).
NW T20 Championship: Bonds Glen v Newbuildings, Glendermott v Burndennett.
Tomorrow (1pm), Robinson Services Premier League: Carrickfergus v Armagh (12.30pm), CIYMS v Instonians, North Down v Muckamore (12.00pm), Waringstown v Civil Service North.
Section One: Bangor v Laurelvale, Donaghcloney Mill v Downpatrick, Holywood v Lurgan (12pm), Woodvale v Lisburn.
Long's SuperValu Premier League: Ardmore v Bready, Brigade v Donemana, Coleraine v Strabane, Eglinton v Fox Lodge.
NW T20 Championship: Drummond v Killyclooney, Drummond v Bonds Glen, St Johnston v Ballyspallen, St Johnston v Glendermott.
Sunday, Robinson Services League Section Two (12pm): Belfast Superkings v Cooke Collegians, Dundrum v Donaghadee, Larne v Drumaness.
T20 Trophy (1pm): Laurelvale v Derriaghy.
U17 inter-pro (12pm): North West v NCU.