CRICKET: Ballymena have survival chance

Phil Eaglestone returns after work commitments
Phil Eaglestone returns after work commitments

The NCU Premier League weekend begins on Friday night with Ballymena and CIYMS meeting at Eaton Park.

With CI effectively out of the title race and their prolific professional Rassie van der Dussen having returned home, this could offer Ballymena the opportunity to seal their top flight status.

Another victory would effectively ensure Ballymena can’t be caught by Muckamore, who remain winless at the foot of the table. CI are understood to be fielding a youthful side for the game which is 20 overs per side and starts at 5pm.

Ballymena are then the opposition for title-chasing Instonians on Saturday at Shaw’s Bridge where there is a 11.30am scheduled start. The game is the first of two matches in three days for Inst as they bid to catch Waringstown at the top of the table. They are also in action on Bank Holiday Monday against Lisburn at Wallace Park. There is a 2.30pm start for that game which is 35 overs per side.

After Waringstown play CSNI on Saturday the villagers will entertain Lisburn on Sunday. Phil Eaglestone, the left-arm seam bowler, is back after work commitments.

The other fixtures on Saturday see North Down travel to CI and Muckamore host Lisburn.

It is a vital weekend in Section One with Carrickfergus and Lurgan meeting at Middle Road on Saturday. Carrick face Killclooney on Sunday in the National Cup final on Sunday.