New pitch for Villagers visit

David Simpson
David Simpson

Lisburn have developed a reputation as one of Waringstown’s toughest opponents in recent years.

Only once in the last four years have David Simpson’s team not beaten the villagers once during a campaign.

So it is little wonder that Lee Nelson, the Waringstown captain, has his players on high alert ahead of Saturday’s game at Wallace Park.

Nelson though believes that the conditions at Lisburn’s home ground could favour Waringstown.

While Lisburn have won their last two league matches at The Lawn, Waringstown have won each of the last three meetings at Wallace Park with their last defeat coming in 2010.

“Lisburn have a couple of very dangerous players and last season at The Lawn Craig Ervine and Darryl Brown put together a very good partnership that took the game away from us,” said Nelson.

“Going to Wallace Park is never easy but I think the pitch there will suit us better than the Lawn did last season. It was a belter of a wicket and Ervine and Brown took advantage.

“Wallace Park tends to be slower and lower and that will suit our attack with four spinners.”

Saturday’s pitch could yet disprove Nelson’s theory because it will be the first match to be played on the newly relaid pitches. Part of the square was relaid at the end of 2012 but none of the new pitches were used last season. A Lisburn insider said the new pitch is rock hard but it could yet take time to fully bed in.

Lisburn avoided the worst of the heavy showers that pounded much of Northern Ireland this week and the ground looks in fine condition ahead of tomorrow’s game.

While Waringstown have won both their opening two league matches, Nelson is expecting improvements. They weren’t at their best in either the victory over Muckamore or the tense triumph over North Down in the gloom a fortnight ago.

“We’ve looked a bit rusty and that is probably because we didn’t get the cricket I would have liked in pre-season,” he explained.

“The standard of opposition probably didn’t test us enough and that has had an impact. The batsmen have got 30s and 40s, but they didn’t really go on, and that comes from not having much cricket.

“It’s the same with bowlers. The seamers are not used to bowling five or six-over spells and the spinners not used to bowling their 10 straight through. In pre-season you are trying to give everyone a bowl. Hopefully we’ll improve as the weeks go on.”

Waringstown will name an unchanged line-up while Lisburn will not make major changes from last week’s rain-affected Irish Cup defeat at holders Clontarf.

In Saturday’s other games Ballymena travel to CIYMS three days after they were thrashed by the Belmont men in the Lagan Valley Steels Twenty20 Cup. Instonians, fresh from last night’s important win over North Down, host Muckamore at Shaw’s Bridge.