Determined Belmont set to close in on PGL title

Belmont will on Tuesday night attempt to retain the Private Greens League Division One title when they entertain Pickie in their final game of the campaign.

Open Singles runner-up Mark McPeak with President Stephen Moran
Open Singles runner-up Mark McPeak with President Stephen Moran

The Belfast team lifted the crown for the first time in 12 years last season when the came from under the radar to pinch the trophy from under the noses of Dunbarton in a dramatic final day shoot-out..

This time they are locked in a three-way battle with Dunbarton and Ballymena - but the odds are stacked against their two rivals, simply because both clubs are due to clash at Old Ballymoney Road tonight.

Belmont have hit the century mark in terms of points from their 17 outings - four-and-a-half ahead of Ballymena and a further point above Dunbarton.

It means Belmont require three points the get them over the finish line.

Victory would also secure a fantastic league and cup double for the east Belfast side.

Only last week, they produced a battling performances to win the IBA Senior Cup for the first time since 2007 by defeating Ballymena in the final at Gilford.

“We’ll be taking nothing for granted,” said Belmont’s Davy Hamilton. “We’ve one game remaining . . . and everyone knows what’s at stake."

If it’s tight at the top, it is equally nail biting at the bottom, where NICS, Mossley and Ulster Transport are battling it out to escape relegation.

There is only a five point margin separating all three clubs, led by NICS on 32-and-a-half. Mossley are three behind with Transport propping up the rest.

NICS must pick up three points at Old Bleach to complete their survival. If they achieve that, then the outcome of the Transport versus Mossley shoot-out at Jordanstown will become irrelevant.

Regardless of who falls through the trap door, their replacements have already been guaranteed with Falls poised to make a return to the top flight after winning Division Two. They will be joined by runners-up Ballywalter.

At the other end, Forth River and Shaftesbury lost their Division Two status following their relegation . . . they will be replaced by Downpatrick and Belmont B next season.