Strabane stare into abyss of fourth Cup exit
It may be only the first weekend of June but by Sunday night North West League champions Strabane could be out of all four cup competitions.
A horror 10-day period saw the Red Caps exit the Faughan Valley Cup, ClubTurf Ulster Cup and Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup, and next up tomorrow is a formidable task in the quarter-finals of the Northern Bank Challenge Cup, away to Limavady.
Strabane did manage to squeeze in a league win against Bready last Saturday but their knockout hopes are in the last chance saloon and the in-form Roesiders will start favourites to pile on the agony.
Having already lost at Fox Lodge, Carrickfergus and Railway Union, another away draw was not what the doctor ordered for Jonathan Beukes' ailing side.
Mark Gillespie is the batsman in form for the Red Caps, following up his century against Bready with 57 against Railway, but only Kevin Martin, of their other top six batsmen, managed a half century in either game.
Their bowlers have yet to bowl out an opposition line-up this season and that is hardly confidence boosting going into a game against a Limavady side who have lost only once - the one time their batting failed - in the league to Fox Lodge.
Brigade, the team of the season so far, have already won at Bready in the league so will be confident of following up in their home quarter-final, while Coleraine and Eglinton, who meet at Sandel Lodge, know that one big performance could be enough to put them in the semi-final.
The other quarter-final will be played on Sunday when Fox Lodge host the winners of tomorrow's delayed second round game between Sion Mills and Donemana.
Tomorrow: Northern Bank Senior Cup 2nd round (pm): Sion Mills v Donemana. Quarter-finals: Brigade v Bready, Coleraine v Eglinton, Limavady v Strabane. Sunday: Fox Lodge v Sion Mills or Donemana.
Henderson Properties Senior League One: Coleraine v Bready, Eglinton v Strabane, Donemana v Limavady (prov).