Templepatrick Cricket Club’s First XI is gearing up for a crunch weekend of matches as they face back-to-back games against Laurelvale and Dundrum on home turf.
The Ballyclare-based outfit are enjoying their first-ever season in the NCU’s Section 1, despite losing five of their opening seven league games.
Consolidating their position in the second tier may be their primary objective, but last time out they showed they can more than hold their own against the best the league has to offer, losing by just two runs to pace-setters Muckamore.
And this Saturday the visit of Laurelvale to the Cloughan should tell a tale about how far Templepatrick have come since the start of the campaign.
The County Armagh side sitbottom in the table - two places below TCC. Their only league success this year came at the end of May with a 90-runs victory against an understrength Templepatrick when they met in Tandragee.
That’s a result skipper Ricky Greer and his side will be hoping to avenge.
Victory would open up an eight-point gap between the two teams, and perhaps move TCC closer to Sunday’s opponents, Dundrum.
“It’s a must-win fixture,” Greer told the Times. “We have won two games and they have won one. They beat us when we had a very weakened team: we had about 15 people unavailable that day. That’s their only win, so we will be targeting a victory.”
While he admitted encounters with Laurelvale are “normally very close”, Greer maintained: “We are confident we can beat them. We have home advantage and we have played a lot of good cricket since we met them.”
Four points would give his team tremendous confidence ahead of Sunday’s match-up with Dundrum, who lost to Carrick at the weekend.
“They had a big win against Downpatrick recently which wasn’t expected. They will be a tougher task. If we can get four wins on the board it would be good,” Greer added.
“We are probably one win off where we should be. We should have beaten Muckamore last week. We have been competitive in every game we have played in the league, apart from the Laurelvale and Derriaghy games.
“Our aim is still to remain in the league. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. Anything more [than staying up] is a bonus. We just want to pick up the wins against the teams in the mix with us. We went to Muckamore thinking we would be rolled over and we gave them their tightest game of the season. It proves we can compete.”
The squad took a welcome break from competitive cricket over the Twelfth weekend when they made the trip to Bristol to take on Bedminster CC.
Meanwhile, Templepatrick II are set to be back in action in NCU Junior Division Two this weekend when they visit bottom club Holywood II. The Thirds are due to host Lisburn IV on Sunday.