If there was one player whose performances stood out for the North West Warriors last season, it was Andrew Riddles.
The former Donemana and Limavady all-rounder might have been plying his trade in the North West Championship with Ardmore, but he was consistently excellent in the pressure environment of the interprovincial tournaments.
The Warriors experienced a tough summer, losing all of their Twenty20 fixtures and finishing bottom of the pile in the three-day competition, before they rallied in the final one-day fixture of the year against Leinster Lightning.
Riddles was consistent throughout with Riddles catching the eye in the longest former of the game where he was the fifth highest run-scorer in the three-day competition. The Warriors will need more of the same with the Dubliners their opposition in a 50-over match on Saturday at The Hills.
Riddles puts his improved performances in 2014 down to more practice and improved fitness levels.
He said: “Last year went well for me. In the previous few years I have had a few injuries and that stopped me from producing my best. Last year everything went according to plan, I was doing more training and I was fitter. Also, when you change clubs it can help you. It’s all about confidence and mine was high.”
Riddles hopes a mostly young, homegrown North West side will have learn the lessons of 2014. Their batsmen, aggressive and attacking by nature, sometimes went too hard too early.
He continued: “In the North West we try to play aggressive cricket and that cost us at times in the three-day games when we lost too many early wickets. But we have experienced a lot as a team, come closer together and although it’s going to be tough, we should be better this year.”
The Lightning boast a wealth of experience and will be overwhelming favourites on their own turf. But Riddles has warned them not to expect an easy ride.
“They are doing to be very tough opponents to play against,” he continued. “I think nine players who played for them last year have been left out of the squad for Saturday so that tells you the strength in depth that they’ve got.
“We are a bit different. With the exception of Ifty (Hussain) we have all come through the ranks of North West.”
Riddles has positive news about Dekker Curry, with the Ardmore all-rounder expecting to be out for just a fortnight after breaking a bone in his wrist against Coleraine last Saturday. Curry is hopeful of returning for the Senior Cup tie against Bready on May 17.
There is no Premiership cricket on Saturday with the Warriors in action although there is a full round of Championship fixtures. but
Sunday sees the Charity Cup finals at Bready. Donemana face Coleraine in the Faughan Valley challenge Charity Cup at 4pm. It will follow the Midweek Charity Cup final between Newbuildings and Ardmore.