Waringstown will be looking to put an end to their poor run of form when they take on Instonians in the Clear Currency Irish Senior Cup quarter-final at The Lawn on Sunday.
The Villagers, who have dominated the local cricket scene for the past five years, have lost four matches in a row in all competitions to mark their first real blip in quite some time.
Having crashed out of the Gallagher Challenge Cup to Instonians, they will be looking for revenge and captain Greg Thompson expects his side to ‘bounce back’ in style.
“There is no doubt that our form of late has been disappointing,” he said. “We have had some very tough games. North Down away without myself and James McCollum was always going to be tough, but the batters did very well and it just wasn’t to be for the bowlers on that occasion.
“Playing away to CIYMS is a tough game and the batters didn’t give the bowlers enough runs. They are a strong team and you have to be on your game to beat them.
“We felt against CSNI that with Kyle (McCallan) and I at the crease we were comfortable and on track for a good total, but one mix-up and we don’t have enough runs on the board.
“The most disappointing one is losing to Instonians in the Challenge Cup. That was the only must-win one because it’s in the cup, so that one was hard to take at home.
“This team hasn’t had to deal with results like that in a couple of years, and it will probably just take a little longer to bounce back. I’m fully expecting us to bounce back this weekend.”
It will be Waringstown’s first match since the loss of club member, player and devoted supporter Paddy Allen, who passed away suddenly last weekend and was laid to rest on Wednesday.
As defending champions of the Irish Senior Cup and the most successful club in the history of the competition, motivation is already high to win, but Thompson admits this one has ‘added significance’.
“There is a strong connection between this set of players and this trophy, and we will certainly be going into Sunday looking to prolong that and carry it on,” he added. “With the added significance that one of our more prominent members passed away during the week, so this will be the first occasion we get to take to the field with Paddy in our minds.”
James Hall broke the club batting record last weekend after scoring 43 against North Down, surpassing the great Garfield Harrison’s career club tally of 11,546 runs.
It is an amazing achievement considering Hall is still only 30, and Thompson praised the impact he has had over the years.
“James is phenomenal and has been a cornerstone of that Waringstown team for the best part of 15 years now,” he said. “When he’s going, he is as good as there is. To break a record that has stood for as long as it has and somebody as well-known as Garfield Harrison says it all really - the quality batsman that he was and James is.”