Bready closing in on title
Bready Cricket Club have been competing at various levels in the North West leagues for some 80 years, and this weekend the Magheramason outfit has the opportunity to be crowned senior champions for the first time in their history.
On Saturday, Davy Scanlon’s men host second-placed Coleraine and a win there, depending on results elsewhere could be enough to end that long wait.
If not, they have another try on Sunday as the leaders travel to Beechgrove - that game brought forward owing to both grounds being required next weekend for the All-Ireland T20 tournament.
That second match will really only qualify as meaningful if Coleraine upset Bready’s applecart on Saturday but if that were to happen, and Brigade win at Ardmore, then Sunday suddenly takes on real significance.
It is all very much up in the air - especially given that the Bannsiders themselves, and indeed Strabane are still very much in the mix as well.
Coleraine have recent title-winning experience in their locker and that could yet count for something, especially with so much at stake in Saturday’s head-to-head.
The Sandel Lodge side has continued to defy the doubters this season and with the pressure very much on their opponents this weekend they could really put it up to the title chasers.
The Red Caps are involved in a crucial game too - Tommy Barr’s side go to an Eglinton team who are suddenly on the periphery of a relegation scrap.
With just three league wins to their name this summer, Stuart Thompson’s men are now just marginally ahead of Fox Lodge and Ardmore in the table.
A win for either, or both of those, would leave the Villagers staring down the barrel of a relegation scrap.
Obviously the best way of avoiding that would be a win against the Tyrone side, however that may be easier said than done against a team that has really found their form of late.
Fox Lodge have blown their good start to 2018 - Brian Allen’s team on a losing run of four ahead of their clash with Donemana. Neither side can boast much in the way of form if truth be told but the Ballymagorry outfit has much more at stake.
Realistically the home side has to win at least one of their next two games; this one and/or Ardmore away next Saturday to keep their advantage in the race to avoid the automatic drop.
The Bleachgreen men are at home on Saturday themselves when they entertain a Brigade team who will be desperate to keep their title chances alive ahead of that potential showdown at home to Bready on Sunday.
All in all an intriguing couple of days ahead and especially for Davy Scanlon and his team who will be desperate to secure that elusive title.
Meanwhile the race for promotion to the Premier Division looks to have come down to three teams after Ballyspallen’s crushing win over fourth-placed Burndennett on Saturday set up an intriguing final few weeks.
There is no game for the leaders this weekend, having played Ballyspallen earlier in the season so there’s a chance for Killyclooney to really heap the pressure on the pair above them tomorrow when they travel to Burndennett.
It looks like being a fascinating finale to what has been a very competitive campaign so far.