Only six points separate Banbridge in first place from Galwegians in 7th while the same margin is the difference between 9th placed Seapoint and bottom of the table DLSP as we approach the Christmas break in the Ulster Bank League – still a lot to play for then this weekend.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2A: Saturday, December 8
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
Banbridge (1st) v Bective (15th), Rifle Park
Banbridge remain top of the table despite being turned over by Old Crescent in the surprise result of the season so far.
On Saturday they will look for a return to winning ways when they welcome Bective to Rifle Park.
Stuck at the bottom end of the table the Donnybrook side have only one win to date in the season but they may take heart from Old Crescent’s win last weekend.
Al in all though Bann still look likely to be in the mix at the end of the season and Saturday should see them back on course.
Cashel (10th) V City of Derry (8th), Spafield
Cashel have seen their form and fortunes slide in recent weeks with losses to Old Wesley and Banbridge in recent weeks. They are well adrift of the leading pack as we approach the middle of the season.
City of Derry have also lost their last two games, to Galwegians and Terenure, so both sides have something to prove before the Christmas break.
The Ulster club’s ability to pick up try bonuses sees them as favourites for the win.
DLSP (16th) v Old Crescent (11th), Kirwan Park
DLSP earned a draw against Seapoint last weekend to keep them from falling too far behind. They are only six points behind the team in 9th place but they still seem set to struggle.
Old Crescent produced the shock of the weekend last last Saturday with a win over table toppers Banbridge.
They will travel to Dublin buoyed by this success and will hope to go in to the Christmas break with another win on Saturday.
Greystones (12th) v Old Wesley (6th), Dr. Hickey Park
Greystones haven’t won a game since October and have shipped some big losses in recent weeks to the likes of UCC and Corinthians.
On Saturday they welcome Leinster rivals Old Wesley to Dr. Hickey Park.
The Dublin side have, by contrast, won their last three outings and will be the form favourites for the win. That could see them move in to the top four depending on results elsewhere.
Highfield (5th) v Terenure (3rd), Woodleigh Park
This is a candidate for Match of the Day in Division 2A as 5th plays 3rd with the possibility of going into Christmas 2nd in the division.
Highfield have won their last three games – albeit against teams in the bottom half of the table – so Saturday is a real step up.
‘Nure will be wary of taking anything for granted after their ‘wake up call’ loss to Seapoint in November but they should be strong enough to take the points this weekend.
Queen’s University (13th) v Midleton (14th), Dub Lane
There is a lot a stake in this game on Saturday. The winner can pull clear of the danger zone while the loser faces a tough Christmas.
Queen’s will draw confidence from their win over UCC last weekend as they welcome Midleton to their facilities in Dub Lane.
Midleton eked a losing bonus out of Highfield last Saturday but the question is can they raise their game for Saturday?
UCC (4th) v Seapoint (9th), The Mardyke
UCC’s intervarsity loss to Queen’s last weekend pushed them to 4th in the table, two points behind Terenure.
Seapoint’s draw with DLSP demonstrates their fluctuating form; having beaten Terenure in early November the draw followed a loss to Bective.
UCC are a strong outfit and should be more than capable of getting back to winning ways at the Mardyke on Saturday.