It's a four-team race for the NW Premiership title but Ardmore and Killyclooney have suffered a major blow with the loss of their professionals for the final games of the season.

Ardmore are currently 12 points behind leaders Brigade in second place but must play their last three games without Aviwe Mgijima while Killyclooney’s hopes seems to have been dashed with Blyde Capell’s return to South Africa. The opening batsman finished with a staggering 1,778 runs, second only to the great Decker Curry in the all-time season’s scoring charts.

Killyclooney are the outsiders of the four and would have to win both their remaining games next month, at home to Ardmore and away to Brigade to have any chance of the title.

Even that may still not be enough, however, because Bready, just five points behind them, and 19 behind Brigade, would appear to have the easiest run-in, starting on Saturday with a visit to Eglinton who will be without Mike Erlank, another South African who has also played his last game of the season.

Indeed by the time Brigade play their final two games, they could find themselves more than 30 points behind Bready who finish away to Bonds Glen, on Sunday, and then at home to Glendermott before Andy Britton’s side travel to St Johnston on September 3 and host Killyclooney the following Saturday.

Brigade’s victory over Bready last Saturday could yet be the title decider but captain Davy Scanlon insists the Magheramason side are still in the hunt.

“Last week was a disappointment but there’s still a belief we can do it. If we win our last three games handsomely then our name will be in the hat and we will be pushing all the way until the end of the season,” he said.

Meanwhile, it’s a big day for Fox Lodge Women on Sunday when they attempt to become the first team to bring the All-Ireland T20 trophy back to the North West.

The girls stunned NCU champions Civil Service North in the semi-final, taking four wickets in an innings reduced to five overs to give them a nine runs (DLS) victory.