The cricket season is set to get back underway this weekend with a host of enticing fixtures in both the Long’s Supervalu Premiership and Championship.
Brigade, marginal favourites to wrestle the Premiership crown away from last year’s winners Strabane, take on the reigning cup champions Donemana in a crunch early-season clash.
Favourites Brigade will play at home on Saturday (April 25) in the pick of the ties against a Donemana side also expected to be competing for honours at the business end of the table.
Brigade have brought in Iftikhar Hussain, Johnny Robinson and opening bowler Gareth Burns for this season’s Premiership campaign while their opponents on Saturday will be able to call upon South African all-rounder Jan Frylinck.
Elsewhere in the Premiership, Eglinton will entertain Coleraine. The Bannsiders will be in the running for the Premiership title this season with Scott Campbell at the helm. Eglinton, meanwhile, will have an overseas player again this year as they welcome West-Indian student Oraine Williams to the club. The match with Coleraine is another interesting match-up in a weekend of huge ties.
Ardmore will play at home against league champions Strabane, a side tipped to struggle to attain the high standards set last season. Strabane have been hit by the loss of as many as six key players and might struggle to replace them while Ardmore will be able to call on perennial high-performers Decker Curry, Andrew Riddles and Gary Neely.
In the Long’s Supervalu North West Championship, Fox Lodge will be hoping to put last season’s misery behind them when they travel to Burndennett on Saturday to start their promotion
A team tipped to be well in the running for promotion honours are Drummond, who host the North West’s newest senior side Newbuildings. Drummond have strengthened with proven Premiership experience in the form of Andy Christie, Neal Stewart, Simon Dunn and Adam McDaid and will begin as favourites against the up-and-coming Newbuildings team.
Elsewhere, Glendermott will host Creevedonnell and Killyclooney will entertain Bonds Glen.