Woodvale pull off huge coup as batsman James Hall joins from Waringstown
The 32-year-old former Ireland international has agreed to join the Ballygomartin Road club on a three-year contract.
The signing of Hall, who has played an integral role in Waringstown’s successes after breaking into the first team at just 15 years of age, is a major statement of intent from Woodvale.
The north Belfast club returned to the top flight this summer after an absence of more than a decade and will be delighted to have recruited a player of Hall’s calibre.
The right-handed batsman, who also bowls useful off-spin, has made almost 12,000 first team runs for Waringstown and paid tribute to his former club as he looked forward to a new challenge.
Hall said: “Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone at Waringstown for 20-plus enjoyable and very successful years at the club. It will always be the place I call home and I’ve loved every minute of my time there. There are too many individuals I’d like to call out to say a specific thanks too but the support shown to me and my family through some tough times in our lives will never be forgotten and always appreciated.
“I am now at a different stage in my life, I have a young family and I was questioning how many more years I would play cricket for before teeing it up on a Saturday morning at the golf club.
“However I met with Bunts (Stephen Bunting) and Wayne Horwood and they presented me with a new challenge to help the club rebuild its youth structure, attract some more talent to the club and ultimately get back to competing for trophies – that is something that really appealed to me.
“Ballygomartin Road is a ground I’ve always done well at and I’m looking forward to joining up with the squad in the near future to start the journey of getting ready for next season.”
A Woodvale spokesman said: “We are delighted to have someone with the experience and talent of James coming to Woodvale, he has been at the heart of one of the most successful teams in Ireland over the last decade. He has always performed well at Ballygomartin Road and his approach to the game will be welcomed by the supporters.
“Woodvale are on a journey over the next few years having regained our status in the Premier League. We hope James will add plenty on and off the pitch over the next few years.
Hall, who helped Waringstown win the Irish Cup four times between 2011 and 2018 during a golden spell at The Lawn, endured probably his leanest campaign for the villagers in 2019, but he returned to something approaching his best form last summer during this year’s truncated Twenty20 campaign.
Waringstown captain Lee Nelson said: “It’s obviously disappointing that James has decided to move on at this stage of his career, but I’d like to go on the record and place mine and the club’s sincere thanks to him for the service he has given us.
“James’s departure will provide opportunities for our younger batters coming through and we hope they can build on some positive performances in 2020.”
Waringstown chairman Alan Waite said: “Obviously we are disappointed that James is leaving but we wish him all the best for what is the next phase of his cricketing journey. We are immensely thankful for the contribution he has made over the last 15 years.
“He is our record run scorer with over 11,000 runs and 16 centuries. That has been a massive factor in the success the first eleven have had, particularly over the last six or seven years. We are very grateful for that and wish James all the best. We look forward to playing against him at some stage next year.”
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