Eaglestone signs for villagers

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WARINGSTOWN have made their third major signing of the winter after announcing that Strabane and Ireland fast bowler Phil Eaglestone has signed for the club.

The 30-year-old, who has 18 caps for his country, is joining South African professional Obus Pienaar and the former Lisburn all-rounder Greg Thompson at The Lawn.

Eaglestone’s signing is subject to clearance from Cricket Ireland but Waringstown captain Kyle McCallan is confident the left-arm seamer will give his bowling attack a cutting edge in 2013.

“We are delighted that Phil has decided to play his cricket at Waringstown this summer,” said McCallan. “I have played alongside Phil at international level and he has consistently proved he is one of the leading bowlers in the country.

“He bowls at a good pace and can swing the ball back into the right-hander, which is a precious quality to have in a new-ball bowler.

“People have had a perception in the past that Waringstown have struggled in the seam bowling department, but with Phil joining us and Dave Cheater, Kris Lyness, Josh Hall and James Mitchell all in the first-team squad, I’m more than happy with the options we have available.”

Eaglestone, who represented Surrey at second eleven level, has been one of the leading wicket-takers in the North West since he joined Strabane in 2006. He won the North West title twice at Strabane Park, but work and cricketing reasons have persuaded him to re-locate in Co Down.

He said, “I feel that my employment opportunities will be better served with a move closer to Belfast. On the pitch, I wish to seek a new challenge. I feel that a move to the NCU and to Waringstown could help further my Ireland ambitions. I would like to thank everyone at Strabane Cricket Club for the invaluable help, advice and support they have given me since I joined the club. I have really enjoyed my time at Strabane Park and hope that I have played a significant role in the club’s many successes over recent years.

“The club has also been a major influence in helping me earn international recognition with Ireland. For this I will always be grateful. I wish Strabane Cricket Club every success in the future, both on and off the pitch.”

Eaglestone will be one of six full Ireland internationals in Waringstown’s first choice line-up, with the villagers also boosted by the likelihood of left-arm spinner Gary Kidd returning from Australia in May.

“I can’t wait to play alongside Obus Pienaar and looking around the dressing room there will be so many internationals,” added Eaglestone. “I know most of the guys at Waringstown already and I’m confident I’ll fit in to the team environment.”