November 27, 2007

Ireland

Bready and Brigade face off in 2008 Senior Cup

Will Luke

Barry Chambers

The draw has been made for the 2008 Northern Bank Senior Cup, with Bready taking on NW league champions Brigade at Magheramason. The two sides have been frequent opponents in recent years, with Brigade coming out on top in 2006, thanks to a partnership of 312 between Iftikhar Hussain (204) and Wajahtullah Wasti (115). There were happier fortunes for Bready in 2005, when they skittled Brigade for just 66. Trevor Britton, the captain, took 5 for 18.

Brigade will have a new captain at the helm next year, as Charlie Elder takes the reins from Mark Simpson.

Donemana will also have a new face in charge, with Dwayne McGerrigle replacing Jordan McGonigle who is stepping down after 5 years. They have been handed a tricky opening-round fixture against Fox Lodge. The Ballymagorry side have never reached the final, while McGonigle was captain when Donemana last tasted success in 2004.

The other clash sees Killymallaght on their travels to Strabane. The Tyrone outfit last won the cup way back in 1993. The visitors won't be overawed - they chased 274 earlier this year to win by seven wickets. Their hero on that occasion was Danza Hyatt, who scored an unbeaten 131, and with the Jamaican due to return in 2008, another win could well be possible.

Holders Limavady will begin their defence against Senior Two oppostion, with a home tie against either neighbours Drummond, or Creevedonnell.

Newly promoted Ardmore, who won for the only time in 1994, have home advantage over either Bonds Glen, who have knocked them out twice in recent times, or Burndennett.

2005 winners Glendermott face Sion Mills at The Rectory in a repeat of last year, when the home side chased 324 to win by two wickets. Eglinton, the 2006 winners, face a possible giant-killing act when they appear for the first time in their distinguished history at Killyclooney.

The final tie is an all Senior Two affair, with St Johnston or Coleraine playing the winners of the Nedd versus North Fermanagh game.

The preliminary round takes place on May 10 with the first proper round two weeks later on May 24.

The draw in full
Limavady v Drummond/Creevedonnell Fox Lodge v Donemana Ardmore v Bonds Glen/Burndennett St Johnston/Coleraine v The Nedd/N Fermanagh Strabane v Killymallaght Bready v Brigade Killyclooney v Eglinton Glendermott v Sion Mills

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Posted by Arjun Chaudhuri on (November 28, 2007, 9:08 GMT)

One hopes that the ICC doesn’t treat the Indian Cricket League as it treated Kerry Packer’s series. Till date, ICC has seemingly been neutral to the ICL phenomena. With Tom Prior seemingly having better cricketing sense that Sharad Pawar, one also hoes that the ICU won’t take a u-turn from its present stance and follow the footsteps of the BCCI.

Boyd Rankin and Niall O’Brien are assets for Irish cricket, and they should be able to hone their skills, as also add new weapons to their repertoire in their stint with the ICL. An ICL experience at the Indian subcontinent, can certainly be a better opportunity for practice and learning, than an English county stint, especially in view of the Twenty20 phenomenon. But, I think their release from national duties may adversely affect Ireland’s chances in the ICC Intercontinental Cup.

Posted by Nathan Webb on (November 28, 2007, 6:59 GMT)

They haven't lost Boyd and Niall. They are just spending a couple of months on the off-season playing for the ICL, and I understand that this is with the approval of the ICU. I'm sure the ICU would be happy for more of the Irish players to have this kind of opportunity.

Posted by Arjun Chaudhuri on (November 27, 2007, 11:12 GMT)

Irish cricket has come up in leaps and bounds in recent times. Not only did it romp home with a splendid victory over Pakistan in the ICC World Cup 2007, it did well to qualify for the Super Eights by also clinching a tie against Zimbabwe earlier in the tournament. The Irishmen proved that their inspired run was no flash in the pan, when they defeated Bangladesh—albeit still nowhere near the best team around, but still a team enjoying Test status, and fresh from their triumph over India earlier in the tournament, and who managed to get better of the Proteas in the same round of matches. Ireland, in fact has done far better than their non-English British Isles mate like Wales and also Scotland, which boasts of England-discards like Gavin Hamilton and Dougie Brown and an old warhorse in the form of John Blain.

In spite of losing the likes of Boyd Rankin and Niall O’Brien to the ‘rebel’ Indian Cricket League, and earlier, Ed Joyce to England, Ireland has put up a decent performance in the ICC Intercontinental Cup, defeating Bermuda by an innings and drawing against Scotland. The likes of William Porterfield, Andre Botha and Dave Langford-Smith, in particular look good to give some of their Test playing counterparts a run for their money. Though the legend of Steve Waugh played in the Irish domestic circuit, and near-misses or had-beens like a Pakistani Wajahautllah Wasti, who featured in the ICC World Cup 1999 and the inaugural Asia Cup for Tests, from Test-playing nations make it to the Irish league on a regular basis, more exposure of the Irish cricketers in the English county circuit will do Irish cricket a world of good. However, they have to guard against repetitive Ed Joyce, and Boyd Rankin-Niall O’Brien phenomena.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Luke
Assistant editor Will opted against a lifetime of head-bangingly dull administration in the NHS, where he had served for two years. In 2005 came a break at Cricinfo where he slotted right in as a ferociously enthusiastic tea drinker and maker, with a penchant for using "frankly" and "marvellous". He also runs The Corridor, a cricket blog where he can be found ranting and raving about all things - some even involving the sport. He is a great-great nephew of Sir Jack Newman, the former Wellingtonian bowler who took two wickets at 127 apiece for New Zealand.

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