CRICKET: Big league and cup weekend for leaders

Ballyspallen's Darnell McCallum.
Ballyspallen's Darnell McCallum.

All four scheduled league games are postponed this Saturday as a result of the semi-finals of the Sam Jeffrey Shield, although the top-of-the-table clash between Ballyspallen and Newbuildings will go ahead the following day at the Roe Valley venue.

Bonds Glen stunned favourites Strabane in the first round of the Jeffrey competition and have been rewarded with a home tie against the current league leaders and last weekend’s cup finalists, Ballyspallen.

Ritchie won’t be overly bothered by that of course but will be more concerned about getting a step closer to bringing one of the trophies down to the Bridge. Despite all their success this season it would be a strange sort of summer if ’Spallen were to finish up empty-handed, however they’re a long way from that just yet.

Obviously having Graham Kennedy back from his successful stint with the Ireland under-19’s in Jersey is a massive boost but it’s a really big weekend for the club with that crunch league game against Newbuildings on the Sunday as well.

Just a couple of runs separated the teams in the return league game so it is very likely to be a keenly contested affair again this time.

Newbuildings are involved in the second semi-final of the Shield on Saturday as they welcome St Johnston to their new ground and Marty Mehaffey’s men will have fond memories of the competition having scored nearly 800 runs over 2 innings against a struggling Creevedonnell in 2015.

The home side will be favourites to progress to another final on Saturday but are unlikely to get things quite so handy against the Donegal men.

They too will have one eye on Sunday’s crucial league game down at ’Spallen in what could be a telling day in the promotion race.

Also on Sunday, Strabane will play one of their now two outstanding league matches as they bid to regain top spot in the table.

Barry Scott’s side will play Burndennett - the first team to beat them this summer - while their scheduled game at home to Bonds Glen on Saturday goes on the back burner.

At the same time Glendermott will play the Bee Gees at the Rectory, wrapping up something of mixed bag of fixtures for second-tier clubs.