JUST six games stand between Bangor and the North Wales Cricket League Premier Division title.
Following their shock home defeat to Connah’s Quay on Saturday, the long-time leaders remain 21 points clear at the summit, thanks in no small part to the disastrous recent form of Menai Bridge, who have lost four out of their last five contests which has seen St Asaph and Denbigh re-enter the title picture.
Sports reporter Dean Jones runs the rule over their remaining fixtures and predicts the outcome of each.
Aug 12: Brymbo (H).
Another home game is the perfect opportunity for Bangor to get back to winning ways at the hands of a Brymbo side that sit comfortably in mid-table.
With little still to play for, the Wrexham outfit will have no pressure on their shoulders as they look to cause a further stir at the top, and a loss for the hosts will undoubtedly see nerves set in for the remainder of the campaign.
However, I expect them to produce an improved display and come away victorious in convincing style.
Aug 19: Llanrwst (A).
This is another fantastic opportunity to pick up maximum points for the title favourites, with the Rwsters locked in a relegation struggle after a difficult season on both sides of the ball.
Despite boasting talent such as Amlyn Layton, it has been a hard slog in the top flight for a group that currently sit second bottom and 14 points away from safety.
Overseas star Francois Mostert ran riot over the strugglers in the reverse fixture earlier on in the season, and it would be a huge shock if the same did not happen again to give the visitors another success.
Aug 26: Gresford (H).
Bangor’s home form is going to be crucial between now and the end of the campaign, and Gresford will provide another stern test of their credentials as they look to take another giant step towards the title.
Chris Ellwood has emerged as one of the standout bowlers in the division this season, and the likes of Nadeem Rehman will have to be at his best if they want to produce a significant contribution to the scoreboard.
Although it will be yet another struggle with pressure mounting, another win would see them enter a tough looking three games in complete control of their own destiny.
Sept 2: Hawarden Park (A).
Outstanding batsman Wesley sleep will be spearheading the Park charge against the leaders, and what impact he makes on proceedings will go a long way to determining the outcome of the contest.
The stylish stroke maker has been in tremendous form this season, amassing no fewer than 651 runs at an average of 46.5.
With the stakes for this one likely to be incredibly high, Bangor must focus only on the result and not on any consequences that come from a loss.
Sept 9: St Asaph (H).
Their final home game sees them come up against one of their title rivals in the form of Will Ryan’s side, who will be on the hunt for revenge after being bowled out for 100 in a defeat earlier on in the season.
It has been a memorable season at Elwy Grove Park as the city slicker have established themselves as one of the elite sides operating within the division after narrowly avoiding the drop last term.
Classy batsman Ryan will be looking to stamp his authority on proceedings from the outset, while big things will also be expected from the likes of Jason Foulkes, Alex Baker and Mathew Ryan.
Sept 16: Menai Bridge (A).
Bangor will be hoping that the outcome of the title race does not come down to the last fixture, where they travel to their fierce nearby rivals in a game that has the potential to be a title decider.
Bridge will be kicking themselves for their recent slump which has cost them dear, but on the plus side they are not yet out of sight but will need to pick up quickly to avoid falling further behind.
Their poor run of form has coincided with Dion Holden and Jack Gower regressing considerably after a strong start, and I expect their resolve to be strong enough for them to get a positive result in their final home contest.
Whether it will matter in the grand scheme of things remains to be seen.