Woodvale duo earn the praise of skipper Bunting
Woodvale captain Stephen Bunting was full of praise for Harry Warke and James Hall after the opening duo led their side to an eight-wicket Premier League victory over North Down on Saturday.
The Ballygomartin Road side came into the game sitting bottom of the table and were taking on one of the favourites for the title, but in the end it was a comfortable victory for the visitors.
North Down were bowled out for 214 with Aniruddha Chore (80) and Peter Eakin (50) leading the way before Warke (49) and Hall (93*) got Woodvale’s chase off to a solid start.
Hall – who earlier picked up three wickets – carried his bat throughout the innings and finished the job off alongside Ruhan Pretorius (42*).
It’s a second league victory of the season for Woodvale and Bunting was delighted with the performance from his team, which was led by Hall.
“James knows how to build an innings, when to guts it out and then how to put his foot on the gas,” he said.
“What’s helping him is having Harry at the other end. He can bat and then switch off for a minute and Harry takes the pressure off too.
“They play off each other very well. It’s never a case of both openers getting stuck – if one is struggling then the other will take the pressure off a bit.
“It’s more the experience James brings to our younger players.
“Longevity at the club is what I’m after – it’s not just about winning a trophy, being a flash in the pan and then going back to square one in two or three years.
“We want these younger guys to learn and in four or five years time we are being put under pressure for our places.”
This campaign has been one of real progress for 20-year-old Warke, who has been appointed vice-captain at the club and is relishing the extra responsibility.
“I wanted the age profile of the team to change so we have a lot of youngsters,” added Bunting.
“Harry’s personality fits in with the older group as well as the younger players so he’s a very good fit as vice-captain.
“He relishes having that bit of extra responsibility and I think the work he and James are doing together both on and off the pitch on how to get yourself through an innings has been brilliant.”
After such a positive result, Woodvale will turn their attention to a Challenge Cup quarter-final against defending champions CIYMS next weekend and Bunting is hoping they can cause an upset.
“Everybody wants to have a cup upset but you can’t look past the quality from 1-11 that runs through that CI team,” he said.
“The one thing I have noticed with our boys is that they are never starstruck.
“There’s always that never say die attitude and the Woodvale I grew up with was notorious for that.
“It’s great to see lads coming in from different clubs and there’s no head dropping when we are bowled out for 90. I can’t thank the boys enough for the effort they are putting in.”