Waringstown captain Lee Nelson has issued a rallying call to the club’s supporters ahead of Friday’s NCU Challenge Cup final against Civil Service North.
The villagers are defending the trophy at The Green in Comber and Nelson is hoping for a vocal backing as they bid for a seventh piece of silverware in four seasons.
The match is a repeat of the 2008 and 2011 finals with both sides gaining a victory each. CSNI won a low-scoring thriller in 2008 but Waringstown gained revenge at Wallace Park three years later when Nelson was man-of-the-match.
Waringstown are without all-rounder Greg Thompson who is on honeymoon.
Nelson said: “Sport in this area is thriving at the minute. You look at Glenavon and what they did winning the Irish Cup, the whole area is buzzing.
“If we do well it creates a culture where people come out and support you. Considering the size of the place the number of supporters who come out and support is remarkable. Getting that kind of support again could be vital at Comber where we want to make it as much of a home match as possible.”
Nelson is unlikely to underestimate CSNI, the only team to have beaten Waringstown in a 50-over match this season. The captain is confident he has a mixture of young talent and proven performers who can handle the big occasion.
“The likes of Kyle McCallan in a cup final, they always roll out their best days on occasions like that, and we also have Johnny Bushe behind the stumps,” he said. “People like that win you cup finals. While we have youth and energy in the side you also want cool heads and composure like we did last year when Kyle made a brilliant hundred. Regardless of whether Kyle has or hasn’t been getting runs, he’s always likely to do it on a big occasion.
“The two young lads, Adam Dennison and James McCollum, have been brilliant, James especially. He’s settled in brilliantly, if someone had said to me he would get 60 odd in the cup semi-final and then 90 in the league against North Down, I would have bitten your hand off for it. It’s such a step up to make, to acclimatise. His attitude has been brilliant. He’s very relaxed and takes everything in his stride. I’m confident they will handle the situation in the cup final.”
Waringstown will be waiting on the fitness of Phil Eaglestone, the seam bowler, before naming their final 11.
The final has a scheduled 11am start. Waringstown: Lee Nelson (captain), James Hall, Kyle McCallan, James McCollum, Adam Dennison, Shaheen Khan, David Dawson, Jonathan Bushe, Gary Kidd, Phil Eaglestone, Andrew Mitchell.