Decision time for North West cricketers
A battle on the pitch and a contest in the committee room will decide the North West Senior One championship and relegation respectively this weekend.
If Donemana beat Brigade at The Holm tomorrow they will leapfrog Limavady to claim the league title for the third time in six years but the fight to stay in the top flight may yet be resolved off the field if Killymallaght lose at Strabane tomorrow in the other top flight game still to be played.
Killymallaght, who are currently just two points above Ardmore at the bottom of the table , have appealed the decision to award their relegation rivals the points from the abandoned game between the teams because they failed to make the necessary effort to prepare a pitch.
However, a meeting of the full North West executive tonight, which will hear the appeal, will also hear a report from the Protest and Appeals Committee about the reaction of some Killymallaght members to their decision and, it is possible that, the club could be deducted more points.
If Killymallaght escape with a warning, or fine, then Ardmore will be officially relegated before today’s game at New Strabane Park.
There will be no dispute, however, if Donemana win their 16th game of the season against Brigade who will have plummeted from top to joint seventh with virtually the same squad that won the title last season.
Another defeat — and without Wajhatullah Wasti and Stephen Smyth it is the likely scenario — will complete Brigade’s horror season but would be the crowning glory for Donemana and bring instant consolation for last week’s disappointment against North County.
The extended Irish Cup final, which carried into a second day and postponed the final league match, could yet be a blessing in disguise for the Tyrone side.
Instead of losing a final on the Friday and being pitched straight into a league title decider on the Saturday, Dwayne McGerrigle’s side have had a week to gather their thoughts, work out their game plan for a home game against Brigade and, refreshed, put it into action with the championship trophy as the prize.
If a play-off is required to decide promotion from Senior Two, it will take place between Coleraine and Sion Mills at Glendermott on Sunday (noon start).
The teams go into tomorrow’s last round of matches level on points. The Bannsiders are away to Drummond, whom they lost to in May, and Sion host third placed Burndennett.