Donaghcloney prepare to take on Goliath in cup semi-final

It’s David against Goliath on Saturday in the semi-final of the Challenge Cup, a local derby at the Factory Ground sees little Donaghcloney take on mighty Waringstown.

Few would give the home team a chance and the visitors will go into the tie as odds on favourites. Their home grounds are barely two miles apart, and indeed there are many similarities between the clubs. Both were formed to provide recreation for the factory workers in the respective villages. Waringstown Cricket Club was started by Captain Waring and the Henning brothers in the 1850’s, while the Liddell family established cricket in Donaghcloney in 1888. And there the similarity ends.

Since the war, Waringstown have always had a strong team winning trophy after trophy.

The 1950’s produced George and Jim Burke, Walter Fawcett, Tom McMeekin, Eddie McMullan, Wesley Ferris and Billy Hampton-all talented cricketers. But is was in the 1970’s that unprecedented success came, with nine Challenge Cup wins in ten years. And the reason? Simply the Harrison dynasty.

Led by Roy Harrison this team had six brothers on board. Since then, generations of Harrisons have led the way to more success.

By contrast, Donaghcloney have had scant success. Their sole final appearance was in 1938, and contained two members of the Liddell family. They were beaten by an innings by North, after a resounding semi-final victory over fancied North Down. Two semi-final appearances led to two defeats, by a mere six runs to North Down in 1981, and a heavy loss to Lurgan in 1990.

Could there be an upset? It’s hardly likely, you would expect Waringstown to win easily nine times out ten. And looking at the teams confirms this.

Waringstown have at least six current or former Irish internationals, boosted by a fearsome South African professional in Obus Pienaar. He plays first class cricket in his native land and will probably go on to play test match cricket.

Donaghcloney will rely on their talented professional Mansing Nigade and the evergreen Bruce Topping for runs and the bowling will be lead by a trio of spinners in Gary Knox, Mansing Nigade and Steve Hanna, a very fine left armer.

There will be plenty of spin on view as Waringstown usually have four front line spinners to call on.

An entertaining match is in prospect.

There are limited benches, so bring your fold up chairs and enjoy the biggest match in Donaghcloney for many years.

The match has a noon start.