It is survival of the fittest as clubs target silverware success

Carrickfergus captain Iain Parkhill is relishing Saturday's Challenge Cup showdown with CIYMS

Carrickfergus captain Iain Parkhill is relishing Saturday's Challenge Cup showdown with CIYMS

This weekend really does appear to be a case of survival of the fittest – certainly if you play for either Carrickfergus, Instonians or Waringstown.

Come Monday morning we should have a very clear picture of who is in the running for what, of course on the assumption that the weather holds out.

On Friday we have two T20 matches in the league – both commencing at 5.30pm – with North Down taking on Waringstown and Instonians versus Carrickfergus.

The main focus on Saturday will again be at Belmont where we have the rearranged Arthur J Gallagher Challenge Cup semi-final between CIYMS and Carrickfergus.

Some may argue that had the home side applied slightly more aggressive tactics whilst batting in the first game we wouldn’t need Saturday’s fixture.

Carrickfergus captain Iain Parkhill believes the game offers his side “another roll of the dice”.

He added: “I suppose from our perspective we look at it as another throw of the dice.

“Sure, we played the get out of jail card in the last game and for us we now have the opportunity to put a full strength side on the pitch.

“To be honest we haven’t actually finalised the team as yet and with three fixtures this weekend, come Sunday it may well be a case of seeing how the bodies are standing up, but at the minute it is great to have all the players available.

“Last time I took something of a gamble with the toss and elected to bat, as I felt with two of our frontline seamers, Ashwin Shetty and Anthony Martin missing we didn’t have the depth of bowling to exploit the early conditions.

“Perhaps I didn’t give full credit to the CIYMS bowlers on the day, they certainly did exploit it and to be honest we had a very poor batting performance.

“This is a massive opportunity for us as a club, some of our top six are due runs myself included.

“I have reminded them and will again on Saturday how much this means, the chance to play in a cup final.”

Parkhill admits his side needs to be on top form for the clash.

“We need to click, CIYMS have a lot of quality, certainly if conditions are similar and we win the toss this time I would have no hesitation in asking them to bat,” he added.

“It is going to be difficult again for any groundsman to produce a batsman paradise with the current weather.

“We know they will be up for it but so will we.

“We are looking forward to the game on Sunday as it will be the first time we have played in front of our own supporters and on the home pitch in the league since 28 May!”

Saturday also sees two crunch games in the Ulster Bank Premier league, with Instonians looking to maintain a challenge at the top as they entertain CSNI who have been something of a nemesis for them in recent years.

Undoubtedly CSNI will be buoyed by their victory over Waringstown to book a spot in the Challenge Cup final. Equally Waringstown who face Lisburn at The Lawn will want to put that semi-final loss behind them and consolidate their place at the top.