This season’s Dixcart Railway Cup final will not take place on its traditional Boxing Day date.
The annual Yuletide competition sees the top four sides at the halfway point of the Canada Life Premier League season go head-to-head in the semi-finals to set up a final clash at the Bowl.
Unfortunately the poor weather of recent weeks has forced several postponements in the top flight which means there is a race against time to ensure the cup competition reaches its conclusion in the next few weeks.
Leaders Peel and second-placed Corinthians have both already booked their places in the semis, but the other two spots are still up for grabs.
Union Mills have all but confirmed their place, but there is an outside chance that reigning champions Ayre United could overhaul them on goal difference.
The Millers have played their 12 first-half games for a total of 22 points with a goal difference of plus-12.
Ayre currently lie seventh in the table on 13 points and a GD of plus-three but crucially have three games in hand. Therefore, if the Tangerines can win all three of those outstanding games by decent margins then goal difference could be used to decide which team qualifies for the Railway Cup.
Likewise, St John’s, Ramsey and Laxey could all still earn a place in the semi-finals, but the latter two sides will need several results to go their way.
St John’s currently occupy the last qualifying place in fourth - having played 10 for 19 points - and could move a step closer to sealing their cup spot if they win at Marown this weekend.
Both Ramsey and Laxey are a bit further back on 14 points with two first-half games remaining and therefore would need the Saints to drop points this Saturday to retain any chance of qualifying themselves.
There is a possibility that St John’s could potentially play their last first-half game under the floodlights at Mullen-e-Cloie next Wednesday evening, although that would clash with the FC Isle of Man v Isle of Man FA charity game at the Bowl.
Should the top four be decided within the next week, then the semi-finals will hopefully take place on Boxing Day kicking off at 1.15pm.
If this happens, then the provisional plan is to play the Railway Cup final at the Bowl on Wednesday, January 11.
Otherwise, with the FA Cup firing into life on Saturday, January 7, options become limited to fit the festive final into an already busy calendar between now and the end of the season.
l Back in the 2015-16 season the Railway Cup final was delayed significantly and was eventually played in April when St George’s beat Peel 5-1.
This was a rare occasion where the Railway Cup final was played after the FA Cup final, with the latter taking place at the end of March when Peel beat Geordies 3-2.