Praise as Boyd Rankin shines on Lisburn debut
Lisburn captain Adam Berry hailed the impact of Boyd Rankin after the Irish international picked up debut figures of 2-24 in a tense five-wicket victory over Waringstown on Saturday.
Rankin had joined the Wallace Park side ahead of the 2020 campaign but wasn’t able to make an appearance during the shortened season.
The 36-year-old picked up the wicket of Adam Dennison with his first legal delivery and followed it up by dismissing North West Warriors team-mate Graham Hume (41).
Rankin, who has played 153 times for Ireland and collected 229 wickets, lost his international contract for 2021 but his quality remains obvious and Berry is delighted to have someone of his calibre at the club.
“Boyd was great with the ball and in the field,” he said. “He’s a great guy to have around in the team with his experience and passing his knowledge onto the other seam bowlers.
“It’s something that is going to be invaluable and we will certainly be drawing on that as the season goes on.
“He’s a class act and his record speaks for itself.
“Any captain would love to have him at their disposal on a Saturday.”
The former Warwickshire fast bowler has also had an important role to play in youth development at the club, passing on information to the next generation.
“He has been taking the youth on a Friday afternoon and all the kids love him,” said Berry. “They enjoy just asking him random questions about cricket and with all the knowledge he has, he’s passing it on to those guys and he is a great influence around the club in general.”
Rankin set the tone alongside David Simpson (2-16) and Callum Atkinson (1-14) as Lisburn were able to reduce Waringstown to 127-5 in their 20 overs at The Lawn.
Berry (18) shared a first-wicket partnership of 53 with Robert Rankin (46) to put the visitors on the front foot in their chase, but Waringstown were able to squeeze in the middle overs to leave their opponents requiring 12 in the final over.
Glenn Halliday would be the hero, smashing a straight six off the fifth ball before scrambling a single to secure an impressive victory and get Lisburn’s season off to the best possible start.
Although delighted with the four points, Berry has his sights immediately set on Friday’s home clash with Carrickfergus before a trip to CSNI the following day.
“You couldn’t ask for anything better first up than to win at The Lawn,” he said. “It’s brilliant for everybody at the club and is a testament to the hard work that the guys have put in during pre-season, so it was great to get the result.
“Mark (Berry) has been one of our best bowlers for the past three or four seasons and he didn’t need to bowl.
“Callum was our fifth bowler and he bowled four overs 1-14 on what was the perfect pitch for him.
“Simmo is always going to put a shift in for you and he ended up with two wickets as well after bowling really well.
“The fielding in general was excellent across the board and I couldn’t have any complaints at all.
“With the bat, Bob and I got us off to a good start and it might have been a bit tighter than we wanted at the end, but it was great to get over the line with a huge straight six from Glenn.
“By all means though it is just one win – there’s still a long way to go this season.
“We can enjoy Saturday but it’s back to the drawing board and reset this week before playing Carrickfergus and CSNI.”
Lisburn have struggled in the Twenty20 format in recent years, winning one of their five matches in the Robinson Services Cup last season while failing to pick up a victory in the 2019 LVS Cup.
Berry is looking to put that right this time around and will be hoping his squad can use this success as a platform to achieve more.
“One of the things we played around with was rotating guys in Twenty20 and making sure everybody is getting a game while prioritising the 50-over stuff,” he added. “This year we want to be competitive in every single game and putting out the best squad that we can.
“We’ve had a couple of Zoom calls and have set the stall out for what we want to be doing.
“It’s about getting the right batting order and the right combinations at the minute and then adding Faiz (Fazal) into that team in a fortnight will be perfect too.”
Overseas professional Fazal – who averaged 55.27 in his first season with Lisburn back in 2019 - will arrive in Northern Ireland next Sunday in time to take on defending champions CIYMS on May 21.
“Faiz, in my opinion, is the best batsman in the league,” said Berry. “He’s going to strengthen us straight away and just his influence around the club will be brilliant for everybody.”
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