It’s a massive weekend for Carrickfergus as they prepare to take on Phoenix in their first ever Clear Currency Irish Senior Cup quarter-final at Middle Road on Sunday.
They have reached this stage after picking up brilliant victories at home to YMCA and on the road against Clontarf - and will be looking to create yet more history by progressing to the last four.
It will be a special day in front of a home crowd for Michael Gilmour’s squad, and the captain is looking forward to the occasion.
“Sunday’s game is huge for us as a club,” said Gilmour. “It’s our last chance for some silverware and we are all raring to go.
“Middle Road is a tough place for teams to come, so we will be giving it everything we have to get a shot at an Irish Cup semi-final spot.”
Their run in the Robinson Services Premier League hasn’t been quite as impressive, winning just two matches from seven to date.
They will be looking to put that right when they host Lisburn tomorrow and Gilmour is confident his squad will turn their fortunes around.
“The league performances have been disappointing overall,” he added. “We haven’t played to our full potential and a 2/7 record reflects that.
“The standard of the league has obviously increased a lot this season, but we have definitely been under par in terms of our own performances.
“We still have some very important matches to be played in the league, so I’m confident we can come back stronger and put in a big push to the end.”
Overseas professional Jacques Snyman has arguably been the standout player in the NCU this season, with the South African already fast approaching the 1,000-run mark after hitting centuries in both Irish Senior Cup rounds.
Gilmour is hopeful that other members of the squad will chip in with big performances and support the brilliant Snyman.
“Jacques has been superb this season but it’s frustrating that a lot of us, including myself, haven’t been able to contribute as much as we would like to,” he said. “There have been some great performances put in with the bat by the likes of CJ (van der Walt) and Jamie (Holmes), but I still think the rest of us can put in some big match-winning performances as well.”
Phoenix will be without their star player Simi Singh, who will be in Bready for Ireland’s third and final Twenty20 fixture against Zimbabwe.
They have also lost James Shannon in recent weeks after his return to Instonians - but have the dangerous Ben Beecroft and Nicolaas Pretorius, so impressive with the bat in this competition.
Waringstown will take on Instonians at The Lawn, while the CIYMS clash away to Leinster will take place on Sunday, July 21 - with Gareth Delany, George Dockrell and Mark Adair all on international duty this weekend.
CSNI’s trip to Pembroke will also have to wait until next weekend - with Andrew Balbirnie, Josh Little and Lorcan Tucker also playing for Ireland.