PREVIEW: North West Warriors v Leinster Lightning
The North West Warriors will be looking to pick up their first win of the Test Triangle Inter-Provincial Cup when they host Leinster Lightning on Thursday in Bready. The Warriors failed to win in the pre-season trip to La Manga, but their game against the Leinster Lightning was rained off in the Spanish venue.
The Warriors have been dealt a few injury blows to their side, which misses four of their usual side in this game. Ireland captain, William Porterfield and fellow Irish teammates Boyd Rankin and Stuart Thompson are all missing this game through injury, while Andy Britton misses the game due to work commitments. The Lightning don’t have such issues and have been able to pick an unchanged squad from that La Manga trip, with Josh Little missing out due to injury, which ruled him out of the recent Ireland series vs Afghanistan.
The two sides have not clashed too much recently in this format of the series, with one of two games last year being abandoned due to rain also. The other game of last year’s series ended up being a competition decider in Leinster. On that occasion, the Lightning was able to recover from a nervy start to post 253-8 from their allocation of 50 overs, before the Warriors fell 58 runs short of the target.
The North West Warriors will be looking for Andy McBrine to lead the side by example tomorrow as he is the one remaining current Irish squad member left in the side. He will also be buoyed by two good performances with the ball against Afghanistan in his first two international games of the season. Back playing for the North West, McBrine will more likely be seen up the order and will be looking to cash in with runs for the side to add to his bowling. They will also be looking for early wickets from Craig Young, who has become a stalwart wicket-taker for the side in the last few seasons.
Leinster Lightning have six of the squad in the recent Ireland vs Afghanistan series in their side, which is captained by George Dockrell. They will be looking for runs from the in-form Andrew Balbirnie and Kevin O’Brien, while Simi Singh, who has been in good touch for his domestic side, Phoenix, will be looking to add with both bat and ball. Youngsters like Fionn Hand, Stephen Doheny, Gareth Delany and Jack Tector will all also look to put their hands up with big performances.
Key Battle: Warriors Bowling vs Lightning Batting
One of the big battles going into tomorrow’s fixture will be how the Warriors’ bowling attack can handle the imposing Lightning’ batting lineup. Craig Young could provide a massive effect with the new ball, but perhaps it might be Graham Kennedy or William McClintock who could prove to be crucial with the ball. The two young players have got vital inter-provincial experience over the last two years and will now be looking to kick on and provide regular wickets and middle order runs for their side. Leinster have got great strength in depth, with Captain George Dockrell only likely to come in during the middle-order. As a side, they have the potential to muster up massive scores this season in all three formats.
North West Warriors: Andrew McBrine (capt) (Donemana), Craig Young (North Down), Graham Hume (Coleraine), David Rankin (Bready), William McClintock (Donemana), Aaron Gillespie (Strabane), Ross Allen (Brigade), David Scanlon (Bready), Marcus Poskitt (Bready), Andrew Austin (Bready), David Barr (Brigade), Graham Kennedy (Ballyspallen)
Leinster Lightning: George Dockrell (Capt) (Leinster), Andrew Balbirnie (Pembroke), Peter Chase (Malahide), Stephen Doheny (Rush), Gareth Delany (Leinster), Fionn Hand (YMCA), Tyrone Kane (Merrion), Barry McCarthy (Pembroke), Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union), Simi Singh (Phoenix), Jack Tector (YMCA), Lorcan Tucker (Trinity/Pembroke)