Instonians captain Andrew White says his side will be using Saturday’s Gallagher Challenge Cup first round clash with North Down as a chance to improve following a tough start to the 2019 season.
The Shaws Bridge outfit lost their opening three Premier League games before an outstanding 10-wicket Irish Senior Cup success against Cork County last weekend thanks to centuries from Ollie Metcalfe and Nikolai Smith.
They are dealing with the loss of three key players in James Shannon, Nathan Smith and Stephen Bunting, but White is taking a positive approach to the situation and is looking for his array of young stars to step up.
“I don’t know how other sides would see it, but I know from our own point of view that we are fortunate that we have good young players in the system that have come in,” he said.
“We have managed the loss to some extent in terms of having some good young personnel to come in. Everyone is different in terms of how they would deal with losing players, but it’s just one of those things that you have to deal with.
“We will probably lose Shane Getkate for a couple of games this year as well - which is great and you have to look at it positively. We will possibly lose a couple of our U19’s at some stage in July which would be great for them if selected. We are just going to have to deal with whatever it throws up.”
Last weekend’s victory will give Instonians confidence heading into Saturday’s home encounter, and White was particularly impressed with Metcalfe who scored 123* from 103 balls.
“We don’t have enough players in the team scoring hundreds on a regular basis, so to have two in the one week was ironic,” added White.
“The guys batted very well and a lot of credit to them for not only getting to a hundred, but in Ollie’s case going on to get 123* which is exactly what we are looking for.
“Young players can sometimes get to a hundred and throw it away easily, but he made sure he was there to the end and that’s the steps he needs to be taking at this stage of his development.”
White, who will again be without all-rounder Robert McKinley who is struggling with a hamstring injury, isn’t placing too much importance on the cup occasion and is just looking for his squad to show improvements.
“North Down are going very well,” he said. “They have two or three key players in their side that they will be depending on to win the game for them. We aren’t really worried about the fact that it’s the Senior Cup or that it’s North Down. At our stage and how we have been playing, it’s just another chance to improve and get better. If we do that, then we have a chance. If we don’t, we will lose - it’s as simple as that.
“There’s no fear in terms of approaching the game, we just want to be better than we have been. Shane Getkate has been outstanding for us and if the rest of us can back him up then we will be hard to beat. I think the one thing most teams in the league will be wary of is that if we do turn up on the day then we are going to be difficult to beat.”