Another big weekend in store for Waringstown as they seek title glory

James Hall hit a club record 13th century for Waringstown last weekend
James Hall hit a club record 13th century for Waringstown last weekend

In the eyes of the outside world, and perhaps even around the village itself, every weekend apparently is a season-defining moment for Waringstown.

Saturday and Sunday are no different, this time in the Ulster Bank Premier League with two mouth-watering clashes.

Firstly, the club faces a trip to Belmont to take on CIYMS and then Instonians are the visitors to The Lawn.

Last weekend the talk was how would the team would react to losing in the semi-finals of the Arthur J Gallagher Challenge Cup to CSNI and then losing a bowl out in the O’Neills Ulster Cup against Ardmore.

Well, we had our answer, last Saturday inspired by a 159 opening partnership and a club record 13th century for James Hall, they paced an 8 wicket victory over Lisburn to perfection.

On Sunday in the Irish Senior Cup perhaps more impressively a similar margin against North County.

There was big news coming out of the club this week, as Lee Nelson told me when I asked for this weekend’s team news.

Jonny Bushe still one of the finest wicketkeepers in the country was again unavailable.

Whilst this is not by any means the end of a distinguished career, Bushe is struggling with his own work commitments and the undoubted commitment now required to play two games a weekend in a hugely successful club side.

His deputy is 18-year-old Marcus McClean, who has shown his aptitude as the heir apparent to Bushe and indeed took four catches in the game against North County.

“Yes, it is tough one, with both CI and Instonians but I have to say I’m looking forward to it,” Nelson said.

“We are still taking it one week, or indeed one game, at a time and undoubtedly each game brings us closer to the finishing line.

“People say the pressure is on us but I think it is quite the opposite, for me there is nothing season-defining right now there is still an awful lot of cricket to play.

“We have to face both CI and Instonians twice, if we lose at the weekend, nothing will be decided, not that we will be going in with that attitude.

“The positive side that I would highlight is if we win both we remain undefeated and CI will have lost four and Instonians two, that would make the run in somewhat easier for us and put all the pressure back onto them.”

For CI it is unaccustomed territory, still only one league win, despite reaching the final of the Arthur J Gallagher Challenge Cup with a victory over Carrickfergus on Tuesday evening.

Carrickfergus also lost in the Lagan Valley Steels semi-final on Wednesday and now will look for a high finish in the league as they take on the other cup finalists CSNI at Stormont tomorrow and the following day at home to Derriaghy.

Skipper Iain Parkhill is looking forward to the weekend.

“It will be great to play at Stormont having seen the runs scored in the ODI series,” he said.

“Certainly we need to look at ourselves when it comes to the fielding side. It has been a disappointing week and on Wednesday we put down something like seven catches against Lisburn, simply not good enough.

“Michael Gilmour and Pat Botha batted well and we came close, but the fielding left us far too much to chase.”

It will be a tough test for Derriaghy again as they are at home to Instonians and despite a positive start to the season, another victory is required.