Clubs in hope for dry spell

BOTH WARINGSTOWN and Lurgan will be crossing their fingers for dry weather as a weekend of cup action looms.

Last Saturday was a complete washout across Northern Ireland, with every single match in the NCU and North West postponed.

Lurgan’s game with Lisburn and Waringstown’s trip to NCU champions CIYMS were among the casualties, and the knock-on effect is a fixture pile-up.

Waringstown have three fixtures scheduled over three days, starting tomorrow (Friday) with a RSA Irish Cup replay against Bonds Glen. The villagers travel to Section One side Dundrum in the NCU Challenge Cup on Saturday before an Irish Cup tie at The Lawn against Fox Lodge on Sunday.

Skipper Kyle McCallan spoke of the general frustration last Saturday as an eagerly-awaited league fixture was washed out.

“Last Saturday was among the worst days I can remember, the rain was seriously heavy, and unfortunately that’s been the theme over the last couple of weeks,” he said. “It’ very frustrating for everyone at the club, you just want to get on with playing cricket. This weekend is going to be tough and we are hoping for some dry weather.”

McCallan admits Waringstown will be favourites on all three days, but the two North West sides in particular will be unpredictable opposition.

“Fox Lodge showed a few years ago that they are a good cricket team, when they beat us at The Lawn in the Ulster Cup. Bonds Glen we know less about but as winners of the Irish Cup two years ago we want to make sure we progress in the competition.

“Dundrum will be big underdogs against us on Saturday, but we have to turn up and give a professional performance.”

Lurgan captain Stephen Johnston hasn’t seen the worst of the weather. He was expecting to miss the club’s last two Saturday fixtures as he was out of the country, but both were postponed.

The Pollock Park men have two home cup ties, with Woodvale the visitors in the Challenge Cup on Saturday and Bready in the Irish Cup a day later.

“We are favourites against Woodvale but they are a good side and one to be respected. We had two very good matches against them last year. We have strengthened a bit since then, but we certainly won’t be taking the game for granted.

“I know myself from playing hockey that you raise your game when you are taking on someone in a higher division, and we have to be prepared for Woodvale doing that.”

Johnston returns to the starting line-up at the expense of Andrew Bingham, while Jamie Holmes will be looking for runs in his first 50-over game for the club.