Derriaghy ready for DLR County threat in Irish National Cup

Ross Bailey of Derriaghy
Ross Bailey of Derriaghy

Derriaghy will look to continue their unbeaten start to the 2019 season when they host DLR County in the Clear Currency Irish National Cup first round on Saturday.

After recording victories over Cregagh, Holywood and Ballymena in recent weeks, the Queensway side sit top of the Section One table as they look to get back into the Premier League for the first time since 2016.

Their bowling unit has been particularly impressive, dismissing Holywood for 64 on May 11, and captain Ross Bailey admits his men are looking to improve their consistency as they set their sights on the top-flight.

“You always come into the season with promotion in mind,”he said.

“You can’t come in thinking about finishing mid-table or not competing. You have to have the objective of being competitive and for us, being consistent.

“We are capable of beating good sides on our day but then some weeks we look like a side that deserves to be 8th or 9th. It’s just about trying to get the best out of the boys and competing every week to see what happens.”

All-rounder Craig Lewis is undoubtedly one of the best players in Section One and he has been living up to that reputation again during this campaign by picking up 10 wickets in three matches.

His top-order batting can be truly destructive at times and Bailey says having someone like Lewis helps set Derriaghy apart.

“Craig is a class act anywhere he plays,” he added.

“When we were in the Premier League he averaged 40 for the first half of the season and got lots of wickets. Having him around sets you apart from pretty much every team in the league.

“A class all-rounder that can come in at three or four, having the ability to build an innings or take the game away from teams.

“As captain, it is always nice to have him to bounce ideas off and to learn from him.”

Daniel Poulton joined the club from Carrickfergus during the winter and has started life at his new home in impressive fashion.

“We eyed Dan up because he has experience of our conditions and we thought that he was good at Premier League level.”

“So would be great at Section One," said Bailey.

“He has fit in extremely well with all the lads. He knows that we enjoy ourselves off the pitch but compete hard on it and he has bought into that completely.”The National Cup can throw up some long distance journeys for teams given the open draw for the tournament, with the likes of Holywood and Cregagh having eight-hour round trips in

2018. We will take it as seriously as any other game,” added Bailey.

“This is an interesting cup because many Section One clubs are reluctant to enter. Iwas looking last week and you have teams in Kerry, Galway and two in Cork.

“It isn’t too bad this time of the season when it’s a Saturday and people are willing to travel, but the next round is a Sunday and with it being an open draw, you wait withbaited breath to see who you get drawn against.”