A dramatic and tension-filled finale to the local cricket season unfolds at The Lawn on Saturday with Waringstown having an outside chance of sharing the Premier League title and opponents Lurgan needing to win to avoid relegation.
Lurgan kept their survival hopes alive last week with a dramatic two-run win over CSNI and it is win or bust again for Stephen Johnston’s side as they look to overhaul either CIYMS and Ballymena on the final day.
Lurgan’s net run rate is worse than either of the other relegation-threatened clubs, so Johnston knows nothing less than a win over their old rivals will do.
“It’s a must-win, I can’t see any way the run-rate can work in our favour, it’s an impossibility,” he said. “I’m clear, a win keeps us up and a loss sends us down. There was a great swing in our attitude in the win over Civil Service North and the feeling amongst the guys is very much that we can do this.”
Johnston feels that Waringstown being catapulted back into the title race will actually work in Lurgan’s favour.
He added: “Waringstown will now be under a bit of pressure themselves. If, say, they need 40 runs with four wickets in hand there will be a lot of pressure if they need to win the league.”
Lurgan will be without Stephen Chambers and Richard Clarke, meaning Johnston himself could take the wicketkeeping gloves. Paul Stafford and Peter Haire are back.
Waringstown skipper Kyle McCallan said: “Since we lost to CI we have been fairly untouchable with the cricket we have played with no pressure on. Lurgan are coming to us desperately needing a win to try and stay up and we need to win to give ourselves a chance should Instonians slip up. “
Adam Dennison, the 16-year-old batsman, is on holiday, so McCallan has called up another prolific young gun, Aaron Kennedy, to open the batting.
He added: “I was following the Instonians game on Sunday on Twitter and I expected them to chase 120. But sometimes the closer you get to winning the harder it becomes. It should be a great final day of the season.”