Even though it’s only June, Derriaghy’s home clash with Woodvale on Saturday could go a long way to deciding who will be promoted from Section One this season.
Both teams are currently sitting on 16 points with Woodvale having played one more game than their opponents, who have won four from five and will be looking to reach the top-flight again for the first time since 2016.
“It’s a huge game,” said captain Ross Bailey.
“This would be our match in hand over them and if we can make it count, it would hopefully go a long way to putting us on top and putting us up there for promotion.
“It’s the middle of June and there’s only been six games played, so there’s a long way to go in that.”
The Queensway side have been performing well in white ball cricket too, progressing to the Twenty20 Trophy semi-final and will face Cregagh next weekend for a spot in the Irish National Cup quarter-finals.
Despite their success, Bailey still feels his squad thrive more with the red ball in hand.
“We don’t really favour white ball cricket to be honest,” he added.
“We have some players that are maybe suited to it more but don’t perform as well in it for some unknown reason. The boys enjoy the Twenty20 more than 40 or 50 overs with the white ball.
“We back ourselves against anybody at home in Twenty20 with our small boundaries and the way we play. To be honest, we saw ourselves as red ball players rather than white.”
One of Cregagh and Derriaghy will face a nine-hour round-trip in the next round of the National Cup to Midleton, who are based in Cork, on July 14.
They will face each other in a league clash the day before and with both sides currently still in the Twenty20 competition, could face three days in a row of fixtures.
“When we spoke at the start of the season about the National Cup, I mentioned there were some crazy draws with Galway, Kerry and Midleton themselves,” said Bailey.
“St Johnston had the pleasure of going down there, and they are based in Donegal so it’s even further than us. The fact this is now on the Sunday and you have a 4.5 hour trip in a car or 5.5/6 hour journey on a bus.
“If you want to go down on a Saturday night, you’re hamstrung by having a fixture that day and if you want to stay the night, you’re hamstrung by potentially having a Twenty20 final at 12pm on Monday.”