Whilst it may be a little premature to be calling the Gardiner Brothers Premier League title as good as over, now it’s very much in Waringstown hands as we enter the final month.
The villagers have five games left to play and on Saturday they begin a run of four home fixtures before meeting Lisburn who are currently rock bottom of the table with only two wins.
The visitors to The Lawn on Saturday though will not travel without confidence; Muckamore who only two weeks ago were wondering where the next win was coming from have put together a run of three consecutive victories.
Wins over the Arthur J Gallagher Challenge Cup winners CIYMS, followed 24 hours later by Instonians and then another comprehensive result against Lisburn last weekend have eased the pressure; surely securing another season in the top flight.
Conversely, beaten cup finalists Instonians need to pull themselves out of a slump. Their last victory was on July 1st and since then they have lost six consecutive games and skipper Nikolai Smith recognises that they need to get back on track.
“It’s been a difficult time, we have had a number of injuries to contend with, but we are almost back to full strength and we need to start winning games,” he said.
“This weekend though Shane Getkate should be able to bat up the order once more and that will provide more solidity in the middle.
“I don’t believe we have actually been playing bad cricket, simply that when we have put ourselves in position to win games we have not finished the opposition off.”
Tomorrow’s opponents are Carrickfergus and they have quietly moved up the table to joint second though with only four games left perhaps it is a bit much to expect them to challenge for the title.
Maybe though the biggest issue will be getting the game played, at the time of writing due to the horrific weather the game is already a doubt as I believe may be the case at Belmont where CIYMS take on CSNI.
CI have six games left and with only three losses may yet play a hand in the destiny of the league. One of the more interesting factors in this game will be the return from New Zealand of Marc Ellison to the ranks of CSNI.
The final game is at Comber were the home side North Down will be confident of keeping the pressure on Waringstown as the face Lisburn. If Waringstown were to slip up the scheduled final match of the season between North Down and CIYMS will have added spice.