This coming Saturday sees the start of the ever-popular Sammy Jeffrey Memorial Shield for Championship sides and a real bonus this season as the North West trials a 2-day final for the first time ever in the competition.
Holders Drummond will start favourites against a Newbuildings team that was on the receiving end against them in the league last Saturday.
This is obviously a different game but the Roe Valley side looks so strong at present and should progress.
Creevedonnell, the competition’s most successful team would have a chance at a Burndennett side that have really to find anything close to their 2014 form as yet.
The hosts will want to keep a particularly close eye on Mr Symes who could well take a fancy to their picturesque venue.
Killyclooney have the unenviable task of trying to stop Fox Lodge and their South African, Marco Marais while the final tie sees Glendermott travel to Bonds Glen as marginal favourites to make the semi-final line-up.
While the Championship promotion race concerns just three teams as we head into the second half of the season although Fox Lodge and Drummond now have a clear advantage over third-placed Glendermott after the first seven matches.
The Foxies had no game on Saturday as their clash with Burndennett was postponed with the agreement of both teams as there was a wedding in the visitors’ ranks.
That allowed the other pair the chance to make up ground and make it up they did.
Drummond had a tricky looking game at improving Newbuildings to negotiate but despite the hosts getting a decent start the visitors soon had matters in hand. Chris Cooper with 30, and Mark Hanna (26) helped get their side to 50-2 before the Roe Valley team’s bowlers pulled them right into the contest.
Neal Stewart (3-30) and Mattie Mills (3-37) were the best of them and it took an unbeaten 28 from Corey Logan to finally get Dale Culbert’s team to 144 all out- the innings taking nearly 45 overs to get that far.
Drummond showed a bit more urgency when it came their turn to bat with Chris Moore continuing his run of good form with an excellent 75 (9 fours and a six).
The experienced Andy Christie was solid at the other end as he made an unbeaten 48, allowing Steve Moore’s men to move level at the top with the Foxies in an eight wicket win.
Glendermott are up there too and Alan Johnson’s troops are now just two points off the lead, albeit having played a game more, after they saw off the challenge of Creevedonnell.
Eden Links was in good touch as he hit 10 fours and a six in his 92 after Gordon Montgomery had given the Bonds Street team a real platform as he made 72.